Man falls off fishing boat, floats in Gulf for 20 hours

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Gulf of Mexico_162358

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — The U.S. Coast Guard on Thursday rescued a boater who had been floating in the Gulf of Mexico for 20 hours.

Bill Durden was located 18 miles off shore from the Homossasa River.

Durden, who is from Reno, Nevada, went boating yesterday morning.

At 9:20 p.m. Wednesday, watchstanders from Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, Florida, received a report from Durden’s wife stating he had left their summer residence on the Homosassa River at 10:30 a.m. aboard a 22-foot boat and had not returned.

At 1:10 a.m. Thursday crew members from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission located the 22-foot boat in the mangroves near St. Martins Keys.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter rescue crew from Air Station Clearwater, Florida and a 24-foot Special Purpose Craft-Shallow Water boat crew from Station Yankeetown, Florida was launched to aid in the search.

Durden said he fell off the back of his boat, going after his fishing rod. He said he floated in the water for 20 hours before being located. He attributes his training with the Navy for his survival.Copyright 2016 WFLA. All rights reserved.

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