Coast Guard crews spent Monday searching for a missing paddleboarding pirate who is now confirmed to have died.
Citrus County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Jodi Sanders said that the body of a man dressed to resemble Disney’s Captain Jack Sparrow was found around 11:30 a.m.
The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office previously identified the missing 43-year-old man as Joshua Grant Hensley. Deputies say he was last seen by Hunter Springs Park Rangers around 6:30 p.m. Saturday as he launched his board there.
He was believed to have been wearing “brown, colonial style pants, a brown and white jacket and a brown bandanna,” according to an alert issued Monday morning by the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities suspect that Hensley took his paddleboard out to Shell Island to watch the sunset, but deputies found no evidence that he made it to the uninhabited Gulf Coast islet at the mouth of Crystal River.
Deputies located located his paddleboard in King’s Bay near Pete’s Pier on Monday morning.
Marine Unit deputies found his body near there hours later and he was identified by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers.
Officials said they have yet to determine the cause of his death.
Park Rangers contacted deputies around 9 a.m. on Sunday after noticing that Hensley’s vehicle had been left in the Hunter Springs parking lot overnight.
The Sheriff’s Office contacted Coast Guard St. Petersburg watchstanders around 1 a.m. Monday. They scrambled a Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew to search through the evening.
About eight hours later, a Coast Guard Station Yankeetown 29-foot response boat —small crew joined the hunt alongside the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office Aviation and Marine Units.
“There are a number of small, uninhabited islands in the area and it’s possible that he’s at one of them,” said Coast Guard spokeswoman Public Affairs Specialist 1st Class Ayla Kelley, shortly before local authorities confirmed the body had been discovered.
Tampa Bay’s WFTS-TV was the first media outlet to report the body had been found.