Coast Guard suspends search after body of missing boater found.


NEW ORLEANS — On Sunday morning, the Coast Guard suspended its search for a missing boater near the Highway 11 drawbridge. Officials say a body was recovered around 11:30 a.m. in Lake Pontchartrain.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office recovered the body of 33-year-old Arabi native Rod Willhoft, near where the incident took place.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received a notification from the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office stating they had recovered the missing person. Willhoft was reportedly unresponsive when his body was located. 

A call was initially received at approximately 7 p.m. on Saturday stating a 24-foot pleasure craft with five people aboard collided with the Norfolk Southern Railroad Bridge and Willhoft, who was not wearing a personal flotation device, was ejected from the vessel.

The other four passengers were taken to a University Medical Center New Orleans.

All sustained serious injuries and are listed in stable condition.

The LDWF Enforcement Division will the lead investigative agency for this fatal boating incident.


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