Coast Guard Searching After Finding Empty Canoe

FORT DESOTO, Fla. – The Coast Guard, along with several local agencies, have been searching for a possible missing boater in the vicinity of Fort Desoto, since about 10 a.m. this morning.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, Fla., received a call from a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office marine unit at about 10 a.m., Thursday, reporting that they had located an unmanned, overturned, adrift, 16-foot blue canoe in Bunces Pass, in Fort Desoto.

Two foam seats were found floating near the single-engine canoe, and no missing persons have been reported to the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard immediately launched a 25-foot response boat crew from Station St. Petersburg and an HH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., to search a 250-square mile area near Fort Desoto. An Urgent Mariner Information Broadcast (UMIB) is also being transmitted on marine VHF radio channel 16.

Crews from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Pinellas County Fire and Rescue, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, St. Petersburg Beach Police Department, Eckerd Search-and-Rescue and Fort Desoto Park Rangers are aiding in the search for the possible missing boater.

If anyone has any information regarding this case they are asked to call Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg at 727-824-7506, or by marine VHF radio channel 16.

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