IPSWICH, MA – The search for a 28-year-old man believed to have attempted a morning swim from Crane Beach to Plum Island on Friday morning ended with the apparent location of the missing swimmer’s body.
Ipswich police chief Paul Nikas said the U.S. Coast Guard notified police that the body was found late Friday afternoon.
Nikas said officers were called to Crane Beach around 9:30 a.m. when park rangers found a backpack on the beach. Officials discovered that the bag belonged to a 28-year-old Eric Pecina whose car was parked in front of the gate.
An unresponsive body was found near Grape Island in Plum Island Sound in Ipswich.
“The person corresponds to the description of the person we were looking for,” Nikas told reporters.
The man’s friends said he was planning to go swimming on the beach early Friday morning and would likely have arrived before the gates opened at 8 a.m.
The average sea water temperature for Cape Ann’s beaches in April is 44 degrees.
The weather conditions made it more difficult for the rescue teams. Because of gusts of wind between 20 to 30 knots and waves 1 to 3 feet high, there was a small ship advice service in the area.
The search, which continued early Friday afternoon, included two boats, a helicopter, an airplane, the Quincy Police Marine Unit and the Massachusetts Environmental Police.
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(Scott Souza is a Patch Field Editor for Beverly, Danvers, Marblehead, Peabody, Salem, and Swampscott. He can be reached at Scott.Souza@Patch.com. Twitter: @Scott_Souza.)