A Naval Research Laboratory civilian drowned earlier this month while trying to recover a Navy vessel in Gulfport, Mississippi, according to officials and local media reports.

Wesley Goode, who worked for the laboratory’s ocean sciences division, was launching a 23-foot Neptune boat at a Gulfport boat launch on May 4 when the incident occurred, according to the Naval Safety Center and laboratory spokesman Greg Kuntz.

Local TV station WLOX cited Harrison County Coroner Brian Switzer as saying that the 53-year-old Goode was at the launch and unloading the boat when it started floating away.

Goode jumped in and swam after the vessel, WLOX reported.

A colleague on site asked Goode if he needed any help and Goode declined, according to WLOX.

Goode soon began to struggle and went under, WLOX reported.

Kuntz declined to provide further details, citing an ongoing Navy investigation.

“The Naval Research community lost a treasured friend and colleague with the passing of Wesley Goode,” Kuntz said in a statement. “We are deeply saddened by the unexpected loss of our Navy team member, and we extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.”

A father and grandfather, Goode enjoyed family time, antique cars, tinkering and inventing things, according to his obituary.

Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at geoffz@militarytimes.com.

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