Harrison County

Body identified: ‘I have yet to search for a drowning victim that had a life vest on.’

Life vests can save a life

Vincent Harris with the Daphne, Alabama, Search & Rescue, talks about how important it is for everyone who is on the water to have a life vest on, and have other safety items aboard when on the water.
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Vincent Harris with the Daphne, Alabama, Search & Rescue, talks about how important it is for everyone who is on the water to have a life vest on, and have other safety items aboard when on the water.

The body rescuers recovered Monday morning from the Mississippi Sound has been identified as that of Marco Cruso, 45, of D’Iberville, who fell off his boat while returning with his wife Saturday afternoon from a fishing trip.

Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove said Cruso’s body has been sent to Jackson for an autopsy to determine the official cause of death.

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary member Rick Quinn told the Sun Herald earlier Monday that he spotted something unusual in the water around 8:30 a.m. while out with a 7-man crew running an expanding square search pattern. On closer inspection, the group saw the body of a male face down in the water. They secured the body and called the Coast Guard, Quinn said.

A boat from the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, which was assisting in the search, picked up the body. The MDMR initially said a shrimper located the body.

Quinn said the body was less than half a mile from where Cruso disappeared about 1.5 miles northwest of Cat Island.

Cruso had slowed the boat down on choppy water, family members said, when a wave hit it and knocked him overboard. His wife, Brenda Cruso, told the Sun Herald they were returning from a fishing trip with a cooler full of fish.

Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Chief of Marine Patrol Keith Davis talks about the search for Marc Cruso who fell from his fishing boat near Cat Island on Saturday. Davis said given the evidence, a rescue is unlikely at this point.

When he fell overboard, she repositioned the 22-foot boat to try and help him back aboard. Keith Davis, chief of DMR’s Marine Patrol, said Cruso’s wife never saw him resurface once he went underwater. He was not wearing a life vest.

Cruso worked as a chipper at Ingalls Shipbuilding.

“He was a very hard worker at Northrop Grumman (now Ingalls) for 27 years,” she said Sunday. “He loved to fish. That was his world.”

The U.S. Coast Guard, DMR and Gulfport Fire-Rescue spent Saturday evening, Sunday and the first part of Monday morning searching for Cruso. A volunteer dive-rescue team from Daphne, Ala., helped with the search Sunday, using stationary 360-degree sonar to search water bottoms.

Vincent Harris, who has been working with the team for four years, said on his return to the Pass Christian Harbor on Sunday evening, “I have yet to search for a drowning victim that had a life vest on.”

Anita Lee: 228-896-2331, @calee99

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