Unidentified body found on missing Fort Myers Beach man’s sunken boat

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On Friday, Lee County Sheriff’s Office dive teams found a sunken boat belonging to a missing man and a body onboard.

The dive team located the sunken sailboat ‘Good Girl’ in Matanzas Pass and say they are actively recovering it.

The sheriff’s office says a body was found on the boat, and the medical examiner is now working to identify the person.

72-year-old James Hurst. (Credit: Lee County Sheriff’s Office)

LCSO said it was where the missing person, James Hurst, was last known to have been on board during Hurricane Ian.

Good Girl sailboat underwater at Salty Sam’s Marina. (Credit: Lee County Sheriff’s Office)

A Salty Sam’s Marina employee said watching the recovery was emotional. “I would say bittersweet. You know, for what happened, maybe with that vessel, it does help us by getting one more sunken vessel out of the water. But I think, most importantly, it might help the family,” said Ryan Van Denabeele.

“If this is the last known person, it’ll be nice closure for the family, and you know, hopefully kind of wrap things up with the hurricane,” Van Denabeele said.

Crews worked all day on the sunken sailboat. First, divers went in the water to help prep, then the boat was lifted onto the dock hours after it was out of the water, WINK News saw people in hazmat suits going into the boat and removing items.

All that happened while while those at Salty Sam’s Marina watched from a distance.

Divers investigating the Good Girl sailboat underwater at Salty Sam’s Marina. (Credit: Lee County Sheriff’s Office)

“We’re giving them all the access that they need. We want to help them out in any way possible. I think the best way we’re doing that is staying out of their way,” Van Denabeele said.

Hurst is the last unaccounted person from Fort Myers Beach in the wake of Hurricane Ian.

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