IPSWICH (CBS) — After a daylong search, Coast Guard crews recovered the body of a swimmer who went missing in the water off Crane Beach in Ipswich. The Coast Guard and police began the search Friday morning after gear belonging to 24-year-old Eric Pecina was found on the beach.
It’s believed Pecina was planning to swim from to Plum Island and back. The Coast Guard located Pecina’s body near Grape Island at about 4:55 p.m.
Beachgoers watched as crews searched on land, in the water and from above. A helicopter was launched along with a plane, two 47-foot boats, and equipment from local police and firefighters.
“There is three different rivers that converge in that area,” Ipswich Police Chief Paul Nikas said during the search. “So we’ve been in and out of that area approximately five times.”
Nikas said Pecina’s belongings were found on the beach and his car was nearby. Based on the location of the car, police believe he got there before 8 a.m. on Friday.
Park rangers found the unattended backpack and notified police around 9:30 a.m., who then notified the Coast Guard about an hour later.
Initially, first responders thought the man was missing in the dunes.
“We contacted the individual’s friends, they indicated he was going for a morning swim,” said Nikas.
Cold and windy conditions made it difficult for search and rescue teams. There was a small craft advisory in the area because of wind gusts between 20-to-30 knots and waves 1-to-3 feet high.
Ipswich Police and the Massachusetts State Police are investigating the incident, however an initial investigation indicates the cause of death is accidental.