Body of missing kayaker identified as Long Beach man

Body of missing kayaker identified as Long Beach man
The man was not wearing a life jacket. (Photo source: WLOX)
The man was not wearing a life jacket. (Photo source: WLOX)

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - The body of a missing kayaker that was found near Long Beach Harbor on Friday has been identified.

Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove confirmed that the man is Wilberto Mendoza, 43 of Long Beach.

According to Hargrove, the cause of death has been listed as drowning and the case has been ruled as accidental.

Mendoza was not wearing a life jacket, said Hargrove, which was a major contributing factor in his death.

Long Beach Fire Department began searching for Mendoza just after 4 p.m. on Friday after receiving a call for help regarding a man who cut his foot trying to rescue a dog from the water.

When they arrived, firefighters discovered an overturned kayak and immediately began searching the area. Shortly after, officials located the body of the middle-aged, Hispanic man on the west side of Jim Simpson Pier.

Long Beach Fire Chief Mike Brown confirmed that the body was believed to be that of the missing kayaker they were searching for.

Officials do not believe that the man had been in the water for a long period of time.

The dog, which belonged to Mendoza, was found safely and has been returned to family members.

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