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Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014

Search for missing Lake Tarpon boaters will continue Wednesday


Published:   |   Updated: December 31, 2013 at 05:05 PM

Pinellas County deputies and rescue crews will suspend their search at sundown today for two Plant City men who went missing in Tarpon Springs on Saturday. The search will continue Wednesday morning.

On Monday, searchers used vessels with sonar devices that offer three-dimensional views of the bottom of the lake in their search for Willie Hightower, 64, and Willie Ragins, 43.

The men went to Lake Tarpon on Saturday afternoon to fish in a 14-foot, aluminum Jon Boat. The pair was last heard from around 10 p.m. Saturday, according to Pinellas County deputies.

Deputies are being assisted by rescue crews from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, and a dive team also is on site, a sheriff’s department spokeswoman said.

Family members waited anxiously at A.L. Anderson Park on Monday.

“It’s undescribable,” said Ragins’ sister, Taura Ragins, 34. “I can’t tell you how I feel.”

Then her sister-in-law, Lachandra Ragins, completed her thoughts.

“It’s the now knowing,” she said.

On Sunday, search crews recovered two coolers from the northern part of the lake, along with a chair attached to a post, a tackle box and life jacket.

On Monday, crews located a red gas can and small red Thermos.

Area boaters and visitors are asked to call the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office if they see anything suspicious.

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