Local News

Search resumes for missing Avon Park boater

— A search will resume today for a missing boater after he was separated from three other men when their boat capsized several miles off Egmont Key early Sunday morning.

The search for Enrique Rodriguez, 63, of Avon Park was called off around 5 p.m. Sunday due to bad weather and will resume at first light today.

Rodriguez left Fort De Soto around 5 p.m. Saturday on a fishing trip with 25-year-old Joaquin Machado, of Greeley, Colo., and Avon Park residents Andrew Hernandez, 26, and Manuel Perez, 41. His three companions were recovered with no injuries after choppy seas caused their 21-foot pleasure boat to take on water, according to the Coast Guard. The flooding upset the stability of the boat and it capsized around 2 a.m., the fishermen told authorities.

The three men clung to a life jacket and a cooler to stay afloat but were separated from Rodriguez.

Eventually, the men made it to a navigational buoy in the shipping channel about 8 miles west of Egmont Key. Skyway Buoy number 5 was large enough for the three men to climb on top of, and that’s where they were found by a passing boater about 6 a.m. Sunday. The rescuer immediately called the Coast Guard.