Drowned Everett kayaker found near Hat Island identified

James Lesemann’s body was recovered around 9 a.m. Wednesday. He was 37.

A U.S. Navy crew found the body of a drowned man Wednesday in Puget Sound, off the west side of Hat Island. He was later identified as James Lesemann, 37, of Everett.

Authorities believe he was a kayaker reported to be in distress the previous day, according to Everett police.

Lesemann’s body was recovered around 9 a.m. Wednesday, Everett police Officer Kerby Duncan said. The Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office identified him later Wednesday and classified the cause of death as hypothermia and drowning.

Someone called 911 at 12:37 p.m. Tuesday, but the dispatcher couldn’t communicate with the caller because of wind, Duncan said. The dispatcher could tell it was a call for help and determined the location of the cellphone was near Jetty Island.

A search-and-rescue crew from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island recovered the body on the west side of the small island, which is located between South Whidbey and Snohomish County.

In a Facebook post, the Tulalip Tribes said search-and-rescue teams found a kayak with no one in it about 500 yards off Priest Point.

Boats, drones and a helicopter took part in the search, Duncan said.

The Everett fire and police departments, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Coast Guard, Tulalip Tribal Police and others were involved in the search. Everett police wrote on Twitter that the search was suspended just before 5 p.m. Tuesday, as the skies turned dark.

Wind speeds were around 16 mph Tuesday afternoon, with gusts as high as 21 mph, according to the National Weather Service.