Pensacola Police were called to the Pensacola Shipyard at 7:25 p.m. Monday night because a 35-year-old man from Orange Beach, Alabama, had jumped off a docked boat into Bayou Chico and was missing. He had borrowed a friend’s boat as an eighth-anniversary surprise for his wife. The man’s body was not found until Tuesday evening, nearly 24 hours after the fatal boat accident.
A friend of the family told reporters that the man had planned a second honeymoon for the couple on the occasion of their anniversary. His wife had arrived in Pensacola Saturday believing that he come here to repair and restore the boat, called Witchy Woman, which was his job.
Instead, she found the boat adorned with all the trappings of a romantic evening, with candles on the table. Their children, ages 4, 5 and 7, had joined them later.
On Monday morning, the wife was at the stern of the boat, getting the family’s possessions packed to leave, when she heard her husband jump into the water.
“She heard the splash, thinking he was going in for one last swim before they left,” said the family friend.
Ten or 15 minutes later, however, he had not returned.
Police have said that, as in all boating fatalities, an autopsy will need to be done to determine the cause of the man’s death. As of this morning, the autopsy had not been scheduled, according to the Pensacola News Journal.
The Orange Beach man and his wife attended Christian Life Church in their hometown, where he regularly volunteered. The minister of that church and his wife spent Tuesday with the wife awaiting word from the police after the boat accident.
A fatal accident is always a tragedy, but this one is especially heartbreaking. Our sympathies go out to all those involved.
Source: Pensacola News Journal, “Missing boater’s body found,” Thyrie Bland, March 30, 2011