Coast Guard searches for an overdue boater near Fort Myers Beach

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. – Coast Guard crews are searching for an overdue boater approximately nine miles offshore between Wiggins Pass and Clam Pass, Fla., Thursday.

Bart Bailey, a 50-year-old male, possibly departed Kelly’s Fish House in Naples, Fla., Wednesday morning in a white and blue 24-foot commercial-crab boat and was scheduled to return Wednesday evening at about 5 p.m.

Pepper Bailey, the wife of Bart Bailey, contacted Coast Guard officials at Coast Guard Station Fort Myers Beach at about midnight, Wednesday. Mrs. Bailey reported that her husband departed at about 7 a.m., Wednesday to lay crab pots nine miles west of Clam Pass and had yet to return.

The Coast Guard immediately launched an HH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., and a 33-foot rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station Fort Myers Beach to search for Bailey.

Three Coast Guard Auxiliary vessels, along with two Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission boat crews, Bonita Springs Fire and Rescue, Lee County Sheriff’s Department and Collier County Sheriff’s Department are also assisting in the search.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Bailey are asked to contact Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg at 727-824-7506.

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