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Missing Saugus River kayaker’s body found

Kayaker Craig Dustin Sr. was shown near a kayak in photo provided by the US Coast Guard. US Coast Guard

Authorities on Wednesday recovered what they believe is the body of Craig Dustin, the 72-year-old man who went missing Tuesday morning while paddling his kayak on the Saugus River.

State Police spokesman David Procopio said in a statement that officials first located Dustin’s kayak around 10:35 a.m. against the ocean side of the sea wall at Short Beach on the Revere-Winthrop line.

“The discovery of the kayak prompted an intensive search in that area by ground and marine units from the joint federal-state-local search team,” Procopio wrote. “At approximately 11 a.m. a Massachusetts State Trooper searching the rocky coastline just south of the location of the kayak made visual observation of a deceased body in the rough surf. The body matched the physical and clothing descriptions of Mr. Dustin and is believed to be him.”

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Procopio said a US Coast Guard boat recovered the body from the surf, and a flotation device was nearby. Dustin, of Saugus, was reported to wear a life jacket and carry a cellphone with a waterproof case.

The medical examiner will provide an official confirmation of the man’s identity.

“The joint search team expresses its condolences to Mr. Dustin’s family,” Procopio wrote. “No further information is expected to be released.”

Coast Guard Captain Claudia Gelzer offered her condolences in a separate statement.

“This is a sad ending to a difficult search,” Gelzer said. “Our hearts are with his family and the local community.”

Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office added that there were no “obvious signs of foul play, but the deceased will be transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for identification and autopsy.”

Dustin boarded his kayak around 11 a.m. Tuesday near the Fox Hill Yacht Club in Saugus, and he was reported missing by his son around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday when his father did not return home as expected.

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Procopio said it was not immediately known how or when Dustin became separated from his kayak.

The Coast Guard said the many agencies involved in the search included Coast Guard Stations Point Allerton and Boston, Mass.; State Police Marine Unit; Massachusetts State Police Special Emergency Response Team; Saugus Police and Fire Departments; Lynn Harbor Master; Lynn Police Department; Winthrop Harbormaster; Winthrop Police Department; Melrose Fire Department; Saugus Fire and Police Department; Swampscott Police Department; Revere Police Department; and Nahant Police Department.

“Crews saturated a 25 sq. nautical mile search area and Coast Guard crews searched throughout the night in Lynn Harbor, Nahant Bay, inland waters from Point of Pines, and the shoreline from Winthrop to Revere,” the Coast Guard said.


John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.