Body of missing paddleboarder found near Sanibel

Author: Megan Contreras
Published: Updated:

SANIBEL ISLAND, Fla.- The body of a missing paddleboarder has been found.

Sanibel police confirm they found 19-year-old Chad Winter’s body 300 yards off shore near Algiers Beach.

Beachgoers say they saw a distraught family walking down the beach. The police chief says they think Winter had a medical emergency and blacked out when he fell off his board.

“It looked pretty upsetting like something bad had happened right away, something tragic,” said Tyler Volker.

Winter was visiting Sanibel with his girlfriend’s family, when he feel off his paddleboard Monday and disappeared. The police chief tells WINK News, he was only about 100 yards off shore.

“There was obviously commotion going on,” said Volker.

Witnesses say a girl ran up to Casa Ybel, frantic, looking for help.

“She was scared, had them call 911 at the resort and then they went running back, tragedy. We’re praying for them.”

For the first time WINK News is hearing that call for help.

“911, what is your emergency?”
“Yeah, somebody fell over on his paddle board at the resort at Casa Ybel on Sanibel.”
“Ok, do you need an ambulance?”
“Um, we need an ambulance? Do you know what happened?”
“Ok, sir, can you hear me?”

“All the sudden the chopper was out, the boats were out, they were looking around, I felt really bad about it,” said Volker.

Multiple agencies were part of the search and found winter almost exactly 24 hours after he disappeared.

“We’ve never seen something like this happen before, never had anybody drown or anything like that.”

The Medical Examiner takes the case from here. That person will investigate what caused winter’s death and if there was in fact a medical emergency on the water.

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