DARE COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) – Crews in North Carolina have identified the kayaker whose body was found in the Albemarle Sound Thursday.
Around 11:30 a.m., crews found the body of kayaker Jonathan Rodwell Day just feet from where he was last seen Wednesday night. The sheriff provided a Colington address for Day less than half a mile from the search scene, but a man at that home said Day did not live there. He said Day was from Maine and did yard work for him, and used his home as a local address. He said he believed Day borrowed the kayak from a neighbor. The man, who did not want to provide his name, said Day was a great man and a fantastic worker.
Colington Fire Chief Glenn Rainey told WAVY.com crews were called out around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday for a report of a kayaker in distress. Witnesses said a man was in the water in the Albemarle Sound near Colington Island at Rhodoms Point.
Neighbor George Conway said he and his wife heard Day’s cries for help.
“I was asleep. It was about 9:30 or so, and she said, ‘I think somebody’s out there crying for help.’ I looked out the window upstairs and I saw a light, and I didn’t hear anything right away, but then I did hear somebody say, ‘Help.’ She said, ‘I’ve got to call police right away,’” explained Conway. He said several neighbors tried to help Day.
“One neighbor brought a life-preserver with a rope to it, and one of the other gentlemen, who really I thought was just trying to be a hero, he actually jumped in, and apparently, he was like almost frozen right away,” said Conway.
“There were several neighbors here, quite frantic as you can imagine, because they had talked to the gentleman, knew he was in distress and heard him hollering for help, only to have that voice disappear,” said Rainey.
When crews arrived on scene, they could not see Day. A search included fire boats, a helicopter and the Coast Guard. Rainey said a kayak, paddle, tackle box and one shoe had been found prior to the discovery of Day’s body.
“People fish all the time. It’s one of the reasons they live in a coastal area like this, to enjoy the water. I just wish that maybe a $20 flotation device would have changed the outcome today,” said Rainey.