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Friends, family join search for missing Pasco County boater

A New Port Richey man was reported missing at sea by his family Monday, and a search was under way, the Coast Guard said.

Mark Portus, 49, went fishing Monday morning near Anclote Key, departing from the Pithlachascotee River on a 22-foot fishing boat around 9 a.m., the Coast Guard said.

At 6 p.m., his family contacted the Coast Guard in St. Petersburg and reported him missing.

At 7:30 p.m., a crewmember from Sea Tow Services discovered Portus' boat aground on a sandbar near the north end of Anclote Key, its engine running and no one aboard.

The Coast Guard launched a 25-foot rescue boat and an HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Clearwater to search for Portus.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Pasco County Sheriff's Office are also helping with the search.

Portus and his family run Geotech Construction Services, Inc., which specializes in ground stabilization and sinkhole remediation.

Debbi Stark, the Hudson company's administrative assistant, said Portus' friends, family and customers are also participating in the search.

"They're out in boats, trying to find Mark," she said. "There's a lot of people that are interested."

Friends, family join search for missing Pasco County boater 08/18/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 10:33pm]
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