The body of a man matching the description of a missing kayaker, searched for since he made a distress call midday on Tuesday, 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 Snohomish County medical examiner identified the man as James K. Lesemann, a 37-year-old from Everett. Lesemann’s death was caused by hypothermia and drowning and has been ruled an accident, according to the medical examiner.
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.
The 911 dispatcher was unable to make out anything else, but police traced the call to the water off Jetty Island, he said. Searchers found an empty kayak about one hour after arriving off Jetty Island amid heavy rains and strong winds, Duncan said.
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.
Seattle Times staff reporter Daisy Zavala contributed to this report.