A sailboat carrying the body of a man who appeared to be in his 70s drifted onto the shore of a popular beach in Beverly on Friday afternoon, officials said.
Investigators said the man’s death did not appear to be suspicious, but offered few details about the unusual discovery that came during the middle of a near-perfect summer day for beachgoers and patrons of an adjacent city park.
The 32-foot vessel washed up on a beach at Lynch Park near Ober Street at about 1:30 p.m., said Beverly police Officer Michael Boccuzzi, a department spokesman. He referred further questions to Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett’s office.
In a statement, Blodgett’s office said the man, whom authorities did not name, “appears to have died of natural causes.”
A park patron reported the boat washing ashore, and Beverly police discovered the man’s body on board, said Blodgett’s spokeswoman, Carrie Kimball Monahan. It was not immediately clear if the boat came to shore in an area where swimmers were using the beach.
No one else was on the vessel at the time, and the man had no outward signs of trauma, Kimball Monahan said.
Authorities did not say where the man lived, whether he owned the boat, the name of the vessel, or where it had been docked before washing onto the beach.
Officials could not say whether police closed any stretch of the beach during the investigation.
“It’s a popular destination,” Kimball Monahan said, especially “on a day like today.”
Beverly City Councilor David J. Lang offered his condolences to the man’s family during a brief phone interview.
“Any time somebody has a major medical condition on any of the beaches, it’s sad,” he said.
Lang, a longtime city resident, said he could not recall a similar incident at any local beaches.
“I can’t really tell you that I’ve heard of that before,” he said. “But I’m sure there are medical conditions that occur, because we have a diverse population, with young people and elderly.”
Lang said he did not know who the man was.
“It’s too bad,” he said. “Summertime, people are having a good time out there, but that’s unfortunate.”
Staffers from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner removed the man’s body and will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death, Blodgett’s office said in the statement.
“The deceased has not been positively identified,” the statement said. “The matter remains under investigation by Massachusetts State Police Detectives assigned to the Essex District Attorney’s Office.”