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Jockey Caserta’s body found off Gold Coast

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Jockey Chris Caserta’s body has been found 36 hours after he disappeared during a night swim at a Gold Coast beach.

Queensland Police say the 26-year-old’s body was found floating about 200 metres offshore near a sand dredging jetty at Main Beach on Friday morning.

“It is believed to be the body of Chris Caserta. However, a formal identification is yet to be completed,” a police spokesperson said.

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“Once that happens we will prepare a report for the coroner.”

The Victorian Jockeys Association CEO Matthew Hyland said Mr Caserta’s family had been told by police that his body had been found.

Gold Coast Water Police Senior Sergeant Jay Notaro said searchers gave up hope of finding him alive on Thursday morning.

“It is an absolute tragedy at any time, but particularly just before Christmas,” Senior Sergeant Notaro said on Thursday.

“On behalf of the Queensland Police Service, I’d like to pass on our sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues in the racing industry.

“We’ll continue to search and our goal is to return Chris to his family.”

Mr Caserta disappeared while swimming with a 25-year-old woman at Surfers Paradise beach about 10pm on Wednesday.

Onlookers saw the couple struggling in the water and were able to help the woman to the shore.

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Helicopters scoured the coastline between Burleigh Heads and South Stradbroke Island for hours with Surf Lifesaving Queensland, Gold Coast City Council, volunteer marine rescuers, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and South Stradbroke Island Park Ranger joining the search.

Queensland Racing Minister Grace Grace extended her condolences to Mr Caserta’s family in parliament on Thursday.

“I can only imagine what Chris’ family and friends are going through,” she said.

-AAP

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