Coast Guard searching for missing boater near Jug Creek, Fla

29 MayportST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— The Coast Guard and partner agencies are looking for a missing man, near Jug Creek, Florida, Friday, after he didn’t return home from a fishing trip, Thursday evening.

Missing is Jim Winkler 62, from North Port, Florida.

At 12:15 a.m. Friday, watchstanders from Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg received a 911 transfer call from Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office from a woman stating her husband had left the L. Jo Bean Marina in the Myakka River at around 2 p.m. on a 20-foot flats boat and had not returned. She reported Winkler never fished passed 10 p.m.

Watchstanders confirmed Winkler’s last cell phone ping was at 7:01 p.m. just south of Cape Haze, Florida.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter air crew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Florida, and a  29-foot Response Boat Small II  from Coast Guard Station Fort Myers Beach, Florida, were launched to commence the search after activating the Maritime Emergency Response Team in the area.

At 4:46 a.m. the Jayhawk helicopter crew found the flats boat near Jug Creek without Winkler aboard.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Charlotte Harbor Marine Unit, and Lee County Sheriff’s Office are aiding in the search.

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