ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— The Coast Guard suspended the search for a missing boater in Tampa Bay, Florida, Thursday afternoon.
At 11:52 a.m. Tuesday, watchstanders from Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg received a mayday call via VHF-FM marine band radio channel 16 from a woman aboard a 24-foot boat reporting her friend had not resurfaced after diving to release a fouled anchor. He reportedly entered the water wearing a wetsuit, dive belt, snorkel, mask and a rebreather.
An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter air crew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Florida, and a 29-foot Response Boat Small-II boat crew from Coast Guard Station St. Petersburg were initially launched to search for him.
“Our deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the missing servicemember,” said Capt. Gregory Case, Commander, Sector St. Petersburg. “It is always a heart wrenching decision to suspend a search, especially when its a fellow member of the U.S. military.”
During the last 48 hours the Coast Guard completed 15 separate searches totaling 678 nautical track miles within an area of 165 square nautical miles in Tampa Bay.
The active suspension consists of suspending the search and rescue assests pending any new information about the missing boater.
Rescue crewmembers from Coast Guard Cutter Tarpon, Station St. Petersburg and Air Station Clearwater, along with Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission assisted in the search efforts. In addition several good samartian boaters assisted during the intial search Tuesday.