Body of missing boater found in the Florida Keys


The body of a Florida man who jumped from a boat Monday to rescue a child in the Florida Keys was found Wednesday around 1:15 p.m. by a pilot flying a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission plane.

Brian Kowalski, 39, from Trinity, just north of Clearwater, was last seen when he jumped off a boat about 4 p.m. Monday on the bayside near Johnson Key in Key Largo.

According to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, Kowalski and several adults and children were towing one of the children on a rope behind the boat when one began having trouble in the water. Kowalski jumped in to help.

“As he was helping the child back to the boat, Kowalski also began to show signs of distress,” said Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Becky Herrin said.

Two people aboard tried to turn the boat around to help Kowalski back onboard, but the rope they had been using entangled in the boat’s propeller. As they tried free the rope, they lost sight of Kowalski.

Kowalski’s 10-year-old daughter told authorities that her father "was last seen drifting out to sea."

The child he helped rescue was hot harmed.

The Coast Guard, Sheriff's Office and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission had searched for Kowalski using boats and helicopters. A Naval Air Station Key West chopper was also deployed.

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