Search for missing boater in Tampa Bay suspended

- The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office suspended the search Tuesday evening for a missing boater who dove into Tampa Bay because his boat was stuck, and then never resurfaced.

They said the boater launched from a ramp on MacDill Air Force Base, and disappeared about two miles west of Little Harbor in Ruskin. 

A woman and the boater, her friend, were aboard a 19-foot boat when their anchor got stuck. The 32-year-old man jumped into the water to investigate, but never came back up, prompting her to call 911.

"I see stuff like this all the time. People get out there- they're trying to have a good time and something falls overboard. Your reaction is to jump over and get it," said Kevin Litte, a charter boat captain who has spent about 30 years on the water. "It's horrible to hear someone [may have lost] their life over something like an anchor- something you can replace that easily."

"It's kind of one of those things that, if you would have just thought half a second more, you wouldn't get yourself caught up in a situation. Especially something you can replace so easily just going to the store," added John Murphy, a fisherman who doesn't know the missing boater.

A spokesperson for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said the boater, who has not been identified, was either an active or retired military member.

The Sheriff's Office Dive Team, the Coast Guard, and Florida Fish & Wildlife were all looking for the missing man.

The search began around noon Tuesday and was suspended around dusk.

Hillsborough deputies said they would evaluate the situation in the morning before resuming the search.

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