Coast Guard ends search for overdue boater

Coast Guard MH-60 helicopter

USCG MH-60 helicopter file photo

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Coast Guard has ended its search for a missing 56-year-old man after his body was found about 14 miles west of Egmont Key, Fla.

At approximately 11 a.m. Sunday, a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew discovered the body matching the description of Tommie E. Lipford, 57, from Largo, Fla., and about 4 miles south of where his boat was found.

Coast Guard crewmembers transferred the body to the Pinellas County Medical Examiners Office.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg were notified at approximately 2 a.m. Sunday by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office reporting that Lipford’s family had contacted them to report him missing.

Lipford had reportedly departed from the Bay Pines boat ramp in St. Petersburg, Friday on his 21-foot Kenner fishing boat.

A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew was immediately launched and they located Lipford’s anchored boat with its lights on and no one aboard at approximately 4:15 a.m. Sunday, 14 miles west of Egmont Key.

Searching for Lipford were crews from:

  • Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter
  • Coast Guard Station Cortez, Fla., 41-foot motor life boat
  • Coast Guard Station St. Petersburg, Fla., 45-foot response boat medium
  • Coast Guard Station Sand Key, Fla., 47-foot motor life boat
  • The 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Crocodile, homeported in St. Petersburg
  • Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission vessel

FWCC in investigating the incident.

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