The U.S. Coast Guard had been searching the Long Island...

The U.S. Coast Guard had been searching the Long Island Sound off Connecticut on Monday, June 19, 2017, for missing kayaker Gregory Blanco. Credit: U.S. Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound

The body of a kayaker who was reported missing Monday morning after launching from Northport was discovered adrift in Long Island Sound several hours later, authorities said.

A person aboard the Park City, a Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company ferry, spotted the body of Gregory Blanco, 41, of Commack about 3 miles north of Belle Terre at about 2 p.m. Monday, according to Suffolk police and U.S. Coast Guard officials.

After receiving a radio call about the body, the Stratford Fire Department responded and recovered Blanco’s body about 4 p.m. The body was taken to the Port Jefferson Marina, Long Island Sound Coast Guard Lt. Matthew Richards said.

Blanco was pronounced dead by a physician assistant from the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s office, which will perform an autopsy to determine the cause of death, police said.

Blanco was a personnel analyst trainee at the Suffolk County Civil Service Department who was about to start his third week on the job, the department’s personnel director, Alan Schneider, said Monday.

“He made a wonderful impression on all of us,” Schneider said. “Everybody just adored him. Everyone thought he was terrific.”

Schneider said he last spoke to Blanco on Wednesday, when Schneider told his new employee that he could have a wonderful career if he stayed with the department.

“He agreed with me and said this was exactly the opportunity he was looking for,” Schneider said. “He just wanted to learn as much as he could as quickly as possible.”

Blanco’s family could not be reached for comment Monday.

The Coast Guard and other authorities had been searching the Long Island Sound off Connecticut Monday for Blanco after a “good Samaritan” reported spotting an unmanned red 14-foot kayak north of the Stratford Shoal Middle Ground lighthouse, officials said.

The responding boat crews found the kayak with personal items onboard and markings on it that helped identify Blanco, the Coast Guard said. Suffolk police then found Blanco’s vehicle at the Soundview Boat Ramp Marina in Northport, officials said.

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