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Body believed to be missing kayaker recovered off Hat Island

November 11, 2021 GMT

EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — The body of a man matching the description of a missing kayaker was recovered Wednesday morning on the west side of Hat Island, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The body was recovered by U.S. Naval Station Whidbey crews, the Seattle Times reported. The Snohomish County medical examiner identified the man as James Lesemann, 37, of Everett. Lesemann’s death was caused by hypothermia and drowning and has been ruled an accident, the medical examiner said.

The search for the missing kayaker started when 911 dispatch received a call around 12:37 p.m. Tuesday from a person saying they were kayaking, said Everett police Officer Kerby Duncan. The caller could be heard screaming for help through heavy wind, Duncan said.

Police traced the call to the water off Jetty Island, he said. Searchers found an empty kayak about one hour after arriving under heavy rains and strong winds, Duncan said.

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Everett fire and police searched with two boats as well as drones, and the U.S. Coast Guard searched with a helicopter, Duncan said.

Much of the Puget Sound region was under wind and weather watches Tuesday, with the National Weather Service Seattle issuing multiple special weather statements and warnings throughout the day.