Boater found dead after sailboat runs aground at Sebastian Inlet

SEBASTIAN INLET — A body has been recovered eight miles off the shore of the Sebastian Inlet Thursday after a sailboat ran aground.The body of 82-year-old Pieter Kok of Sebastian was pulled from the Atlantic Ocean and transported to shore by law enforcement officials after his boat – still running on autopilot – grounded itself on the beach on the north side of the Sebastian Inlet State Park on A-1-A. The boat was registered in Indian River County, according to officials. Officials also said that the boat had launched from Indian River County, though it came ashore on the Brevard side of the inlet. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission led the investigation, working to determine Kok’s identity in order to notify his next of kin, according to Indian River County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Deputy Jeff Luther.Deputy Luther said that an Indian River County Sheriff helicopter spotted the body in the waters off the inlet and that FWC and the U.S. Coast Guard worked to recover the body.The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office arrived on the scene to secure the grounded sailboat, according to an agency spokesman.A woman leaving the public beach just south of the grounded sailboat reported seeing two Indian River County Sheriff’s Office helicopters hovering over the water. She was sad the man had drowned, but relieved for his family that the body had been recovered so they were not left with only a mystery.”I’d rather have closure than nothing at all,” Melissa Brown, a vacationer from North Carolina, said after being told of the recovered body.

 

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