Coast Guard suspends search for missing boater near Smokehouse Bay

Southeastern Coast Guard NewsFORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — The Coast Guard and local agencies suspend the search for a missing 88-year-old man after his body was found east of Bokeelia on Northern Pine Island at approximately 9 a.m., Wednesday.

A Pine Island Fire Rescue unit located the victim and transferred him to emergency medical services waiting on the beach.

The recovered man was positively identified as Robert Hodge, 88, resident of Bokeelia, Fla.

Coast Guard and Fort Myers Beach local rescue agency crews searched a 50-square-mile area between Charlotte Harbor and north of Pine Island.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission search crews positively identified the body as Hodge and currently are leading the investigation.

“We are deeply saddened that this case didn’t have a positive outcome. It is always unfortunate when we can’t reunite the missing with their loved ones. Our thoughts and prayers are with Robert Hodge’s family and friends,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Brian Lopes, an active member of the search crew at Coast Guard Station Fort Myers Beach.

Coast Guard and partner agencies involved with the search were:

•         Crewmembers from Coast Guard Station Fort Myers Beach
•         Aircrews from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater
•         Coast Guard Auxiliary
•         Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
•         Iona McGregor Fire Department
•         Charlotte County Sheriff and Fire Department
•         Boca Grande Fire Department
•         Lee County Sheriff’s Office
•         Pine Island Fire Rescue

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