DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The body of a 27-year-old Ocala man who disappeared when he was caught in a rip current Saturday afternoon off Daytona Beach has been recovered, officials said.
Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue said Elijah Rashad Thomas disappeared in the surf near 1024 N. Atlantic Ave. by the Hampton Inn.
His body was found Sunday night, about 9 miles north of where he vanished, according to Tammy Malphurs, of Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue.
Malphurs said Thomas was swimming with his family in an unguarded area off Daytona Beach when they got caught in a rip current. Everyone but Thomas made it back to shore, she said.
Ocean Rescue launched an extensive search with the help of lifeguards, jet skis, a helicopter and a drone.
Beach officials said Thomas' death is expected to be ruled a drowning, but an autopsy will be performed to determine the official cause of death.
Then-Hurricane Epsilon, although far from Florida, created high surf and strong rip currents along the Florida coast.