A body found near Avon in Friday morning is that of Erik Mezick, whose truck plunged off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel in December, according to the family.
A local resident reported finding the body of a male at 9:14 a.m. on the beach between the villages of Salvo and Avon within the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. It appeared to have been in the ocean for a long time, according to a release from the seashore.
Mezick’s family posted on Facebook they were notified it was him.
“We said he would present himself when he was ready and in true Eric style he did just that today on his favorite beach,” the post said.
Mezick, 47, of Maryland, was driving a box truck on a dairy delivery on Dec. 29 when it went over the side and into the cold waters. Mezick himself was drifting west, toward the bay, when he went under, according to witnesses.
His brother Kevin Mezick said on phone they were notified by authorities shortly after the body was found.
“It’s him,” he said. He would not say anything else.
Witnesses saw his body drifting to open waters. Search crews looked for Mezick’s body for days afterward without luck. Debris from his truck washed ashore days afterward.
During the winter, ocean currents flow predominately north to south. His body had drifted roughly 100 miles in the last four months down the coast to the beach north of Avon.
“I’m not really surprised about that, but very relieved,” said Ben Shepherd, a charter boat captain who searched for Mezick for at least three weeks in January.
Cold water delays decomposition and keeping the body from floating to the surface.
“We are being told that bodies float once the water hits 60 degrees. It’s at 55 now!,” the family posted on March 27.
In recent years, drowning cases on the Outer Banks, the victims are typically found within a few miles and within a few days. Drownings on Outer Banks beaches typically happen in warm weather.
The remains will be transferred to the North Carolina Medical Examiner’s Office.
Jeff Hampton, 757-446-2090, email@example.com