Officials: Body of missing boater has been located

UPDATE: Officials confirmed Friday they located Kenneth Gates’ body.

PREVIOUS STORY: HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Coast Guard have suspended a search for a missing boater. Kenneth Gates, 32, went missing Tuesday. He and Kearston Jones, 38, were on a 19-foot Proline fishing boat.

They departed from the boat ramp at MacDill Air Force Base around 9 a.m.

Gates and Jones anchored the boat about two miles west of Bahia Beach. Around 11:30 a.m. they wanted to move to a new spot.

“Gates attempted to retrieve the anchor and discovered it was stuck.Gates dove into the water in an attempt to free the anchor and resurfaced to say he was having trouble freeing the anchor due to the heavy current,” deputies said. “Gates then submerged again and never resurfaced.”

Crews from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission searched for Gates to no avail. Investigators examined the boat.

“At this time, the incident appears accidental and no foul play is suspected,” deputies said.


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