Tampa, FL – Ex-Navy Pilot Rescued After 20 Hours Treading Water In Gulf

ST. PETERSBURG – A boater was rescued by a rescue swimmer after being in water for almost 20 hours, according to the U.S. Coast Guard at Air Station Clearwater.

William Durden, a 61-year-old from Reno, Nevada, has a summer home on the Homosassa River with his wife. She reported him missing at 9:20 Wednesday night after he left the home at 10:30 that morning on their 22-foot boat.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission crews found Durden’s boat shortly after 1 a.m. Thursday in the mangroves near St. Martins Keys, but Durden was nowhere to be found.

The Coast Guard sent a rescue crew in a C-130 Hercules aircraft Thursday morning, and around 10:30 a.m., they spotted him about 15 nautical miles southeast of Aripeka.

An Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew came to the scene and a rescue swimmer was sent down to bring Durden in. He was taken to Air Station Clearwater for evaluation, but had no injuries.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Citrus County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the search.

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