Deputies searching for missing boater

Palm Harbor, Florida -- Pinellas County deputies searched for about six hours Saturday on Lake Tarpon for a missing 70-year-old boater. They say he was out with friends on the lake and that he jumped overboard to go after his dog who had also jumped in.

Divers were out on Lake Tarpon at 4 p.m. and didn't stop the search for the missing man until 10:30 p.m.

"He was on a pontoon boat and their dog jumped off the boat into the water, and the gentleman jumped in the water after the dog, and then he disappeared," said Pinellas County Sheriff's Office public information officer Cristen Rensel.

Deputies say they believe the man is still in the water. They have not released his name and have not confirmed whether they believe he is still alive.

Florida Fish and Wildlife says its officers have responded to 236 boating accidents so far this year, including 11 fatalities. They also say the highest number of boating accidents were reported in May. It's those numbers that brought volunteer searcher Stephen Nance from Clearwater all the way to Lake Tarpon.

"If they need the help, I will donate time and my boat and we'll see what we can do," he said.

Nance was turned away Saturday, but says he'll be back tomorrow for the search as it continues.

Deputies say the search for the missing man will start up again right at sun-up at Lake Tarpon.


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