Day 2: Search still on for missing kayaker

Nicholas Rainer. Image source: Family members.
Nicholas Rainer. Image source: Family members.

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Friday, marked day two of the search for missing kayaker 22-year-old Nick Rainer. The search has moved further south with current conditions much calmer making it smoother for those trolling the waters of the Mississippi Sound. Rainer and his 57-year-old father Kenneth Rainer went missing following a kayak fishing trip.

The body of Kenneth Rainer was found early Thursday morning and an autopsy shows he died from drowning. Kenneth Rainer's body was found off the coast of Ocean Springs near Davis Bayou.

Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd said, "The weather hampers us, the water is cold you know it was kind of gusty."

The Jackson County Sheriff's Department is among the agencies aiding the Department of Marine Resources in the search. Deputies have been searching by helicopter and by boat using the latest technology in hopes of finding Rainer.

"Side scan sonar works to the advantage of giving you images of things that maybe under the water so that's going to help us because you can't see under the water without this," Byrd said.

The Coast Guard has also lent its expertise to the search.

Chief Warrant Officer Thomas Ponte said, "Search rescue planning tools including drift models, floating data marker buoys, hypothermic tables they can use to determine survivability and track someone in the water, who might be floating."

Rescue teams have been working around the clock until the search became a recovery.

"We had to switch our people out three times to make sure our people are fresh and not fatigue and unable to respond," Ponte said. "We were the backup agency and since they have switched from a rescue to a recovery mode. We have secured our search rescue operations."

While the Coast Guard mission is over, the sheriff said his deputies will remain on the lookout.

"We are going to stay out for the duration until we can find the victim," Byrd said. "My son, he was a police officer I lost him six years ago. I understand that it's important to them to try and give them closure."

The Rainer family and dozens of friends keep a vigil at the Ocean Springs Harbor, looking over the water for some sign of hope. It's not easy.

"Not coping very well," said family friend Susan Church. "It's still a traumatic time for them right now and just trying to stand behind them and tell them that we're here for them and give them hope."

DMR will continue their search overnight Friday and throughout the day on Saturday.

A spokesperson with the Department of Marine Resources said a shrimper found the father and son's two kayaks adrift Wednesday night.

Volunteers and the National Park Service are also assisting in the search.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.