DESTIN, Fla. (WFLA) – The search for a missing Florida woman has tragically ended after she was found dead over the weekend.
On Saturday, around 6:15 p.m., the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office located a green kayak that had been overturned by the wake of a large boat in Destin Harbor behind Gilligan’s Watersports.
According to police, two people were on the kayak when it overturned, however, one person was found around 9 p.m. holding onto a pylon behind Harbor Docks, a restaurant located a few hundred feet away from where the kayak overturned.
After the first person was found, deputies began searching for the second person, a 32-year-old woman.
On Sunday, the sheriff’s office shared an update that Bethan Newman, 32, was found dead, according to WKRG.
“Please join us in sending our sincere sympathies and prayers to her family and friends,” the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office wrote on Facebook.
The man found hanging onto a pylon told officials that he and Bethany were kayaking the harbor after dark, around 6:15 p.m., when they were knocked over by a wave from a passing boat.
He stated that he was able to make it to safety but was unable to find Bethany.
OCSO sent their first Aqua Alert for the missing kayaker at 9:45 pm on Feb. 11. Officials stated the first alert had an incorrect time stamp but was issued quickly after the man was found that night.
“He had reportedly clung to that pylon several hours before anyone was aware of the incident and he was recovered. So dispatch put out the AA. Meantime we asked the app company about the wrong date showing up and they said we can not edit a push once it’s been sent out and if the “schedule send” was toggled but a date was not selected before scheduling,” the OCSO Public Information Officer Michele Nicholson told WKRG.
“That is the primary way Aqua Alerts our issued, directly from our dispatch via a mobile app phone notification system. Please encourage other boaters and fishing friends to download the app as well. The more eyes on the water the better and we greatly appreciate the outpouring of compassion in this heartbreaking incident.”
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission said the injured man was found floating in the water and that EMS transported him to a local hospital for treatment.
The incident remains under investigation.