Coast Guard suspends search for missing North Port boater


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.- The Coast Guard suspended the search for the missing North Port boater Saturday.

62-year-old Jim Winkler disappeared Thursday night. Winkler’s wife called 911 around 10 p.m. Thursday after she had not heard from him in nearly six hours. Winkler left the El Jobean boat ramp in Myakka River around 2 p.m. His cellphone pinged around 7p.m. just south of Cape Haze. On Friday morning a helicopter crew found Winkler’s 20-foot flats boat near Jug Creek.

The Coast Guard said Saturday they had done 23 different searches for him, covering 1,686 miles in Charlotte Harbor.

“Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Mr. Winkler,” said Capt. Gregory Case, Commander Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg. ” Suspending a case is never an easy decision to make.”


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