Police: Divers recover body of missing fisherman

Posted: Updated:

State police say a private team of divers recovered the body of missing a fisherman on Friday afternoon from a sunken fishing boat off the coast of Sandy Hook. 

Officials had been searching for captain Tom Andresen, of Bridgewater, since his boat, El Jefe, was reported missing Tuesday.

Officials believe Andresen was the only one on board.

The body's discovery was a relief for his sister, Peggy Califano, of Long Island, she says.

Califano says her family hired the private dive team that discovered her brother's body inside his sunken boat's cabin.

State police located the boat Wednesday morning, but could not confirm if there was anybody inside the boat at the time. The private divers discovered the body around 2:30 p.m. Friday.

Witness and fellow fishing boat captain Adam Austin says he saw the boat flip and tried to help.

"Everybody was rushing to the front, and the mate ran to get the life ring to hopefully throw to somebody. I got three life preservers, came out back and the boat had sunk. Within a minute or two it was gone," he says.

Austin says other boats arrived on the scene quickly, so anyone who was on El Jefe would have had a strong chance of being rescued, but the boat went under quickly. The Coast Guard began searching.

"With each passing minute that went by, you realized there wasn't anybody to throw that life ring to," Austin says.

Tom Andresen made his living fishing on El Jefe. He was seen going into the boat's cabin before it flipped over. The Belford Fishing Co-op bought Andresen's catch weekly and posted a photo of his boat at Belford's public dock.

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