Body is that of missing crabber

The discovery of the body of one of two anglers missing since last week has brought some closure to his family and the local fishing community, but investigators are no closer to finding his fishing partner, although authorities have not given up hope that he will ultimately be located.

The body of 58-year-old San Leandro crab fisher BenjaminHannaberg, found washed up on Poplar Beach around 3 p.m. Tuesday, confirmed what many had feared after he and Jim Davis, 57, went missing in the vessel, Good Guys, after an early-morning trip on Dec. 4 to check crab pots.

Both Assistant Harbormaster John Draper of Harbor Patrol and San Mateo County sheriff’s Lt. Mark Alcantara said that informal searches were continuing; there was a brief flyover on Tuesday after Hannaberg’s body was found.

“We’re monitoring the beaches as we can, along with [the] state Parks [Department], and while we’re not actively searching, we are aware of the situation and monitoring the beaches in our jurisdiction for any other debris or evidence,” Alcantara said.

Draper said that whenever Harbor Patrol vessels leave Pillar Point, members of his crew search for the boat. They are also continuing to remind commercial and sport fishers alike of the dangers of rough weather and improper planning.

“Everybody’s watching the weather a little closer now,” said Draper, who added that there is no indication that the U.S. Coast Guard will renew a formal search for the body.

But the body’s discovery has not helped unravel what happened to the vessel. In fact, the condition of Hannaberg’s body may have actually added to the mystery.

Despite potentially being in the ocean for a week, San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault said the body was in better condition than he expected, and they were able to identify Hannaberg from a full set of fingerprints. The lack of decomposition and damage could mean the body was not exposed to the ocean for the full week.

“I’ve never seen someone who was exposed to the water as long as he was who is in as good of shape as he was,” he said. “In my experience in the past, we have not been able to get useable fingerprints off a body that was in the water as long he could have been.”

Foucrault said that while a cause-of-death investigation is still pending, there is no reason to suspect foul play.

Hannaberg’s family declined a request for comment from The Examiner.

jgoldman@examiner.com

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