A body found at the water's edge of a Jersey Shore beach was identified as missing boat captain David McAuliffe, according to N.J. State Police.
“Thank God. The family needs closure. It’s been a nightmare," said Chris Dziena, McAuliffe's aunt.
McAuliffe's body was found on the beach at 24th Street in Ocean City, N.J. around 5:45 a.m. by a public works crew, according to Ocean City Police.
"It's very important to our family that he is brought home and honored with the dignity and respect that he deserves," his wife, Lynsey McAuliffe told NBC10's Ted Greenberg.
An autopsy showed that McAuliffe drowned. His death was ruled accidental.
His widow says an inspection on her husband's boat showed the propellers were badly bent, leading her to believe that the boat hit something before it sank. The Coast Guard is investigating what exactly caused the accident.
"My husband held a 100 ton Masters [license] in which he dedicated his life to assisting people in need," she said.
This is the first loss of a captain in the 30 year history of Sea Tow, according to a statement released by Capt. Joe Frohnhoefer, CEO of Sea Tow Services International Inc.
"All of our Sea Tow Captains and crew dedicate their lives to saving others. To lose one of our team is devastating to all of us. My thoughts and prayers go out to his entire family and friends at this difficult time," said Frohnhoefer.
The area where McAuliffe's body washed up is southwest of the Great Egg Harbor Inlet where McAuliffe went missing eight days ago.
His 45-foot sea tow boat Cape Hatteras was found and raised but McAuliffe remained missing.
McAuliffe, 34, of Egg Harbor Township, is believed to have been the only person aboard that boat when it sank.
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