Fourth Fisherman Still Missing in Gulf Coast Waters

The search for a crew of missing boaters ended early Monday evening when three of the men were found alive in the water, but where is the fourth man?

Earlier in the day on Monday a miscommunication between the United States Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife led to information that one of the missing men was found dead.

The fact is that man is still missing. As for the other three, they were found alive and are receiving medical treatment.

It all started Friday when four men, 55-year-old Jake Fish, his son 31-year-old John Fish, 42-year-old Mike Jackson, and 34-year-old Keith Smith came to Wood's Gulf Breeze for a fishing trip.

The men went out fishing Friday and then pushed out again Saturday morning around 9:30 a.m.

"Late Saturday afternoon one of the family members had not heard from her husband, got concerned, notified us, got a welfare check. We did not locate the folks at the place they were renting,” comments LT Brian Faircloth of the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office.

Family members became concerned when Smith failed to make it home Sunday when he was supposed to celebrate his anniversary with his wife.

Sunday, the search began for the men's boat and continued into Monday.

The United States Coast Guard partnered with Florida Fish and Wildlife and the Taylor County Sheriff's Office to patrol from the water and the air looking for the men as family members of the four waited eagerly for any word.

Then around 5 p.m. Monday the Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife found three of the men approximately 21 miles west of Steinhatchee River.

The three were airlifted to Shands Hospital in Gainesville where they are being treated for non life threatening injuries.

The fourth man, John Fish, was thought to be found in the same area of water, when the Coast Guard spotted what they thought was a man in a life vest, but when Florida Fish and Wildlife arrived on scene all they found was a life vest.

Because the search is going on in federal waters, the U.S. Coast Guard is in charge of the search and they continue to search for Fish.

Karen Parker with Florida Fish and Wildlife tells WCTV he is presumed dead.

There are still a lot of holes in what exactly happened between 9:30 a.m. Saturday and 5 p.m. Monday.

The Taylor County Sheriff's Office says they believe the boat capsized sometime during the day on Saturday, and according to Florida Fish and Wildlife the three survivors were spotted clinging to that capsized boat.


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