Third day of searching for missing Lake Tarpon boaters yields nothing

TARPON SPRINGS — Rescuers searched all day Tuesday for two boaters who went missing Saturday night on Lake Tarpon, but found nothing and ended their search at dark.

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office will resume the search this morning.

Willie Ragins, 43, and Willie Hightower, 64, went fishing on Lake Tarpon on Saturday. When they didn't return home that night, their families contacted the Sheriff's Office. Since search efforts began Sunday, their families have remained near the lake for any news of the two men.

Hope that rescuers would find them alive dwindled for family members Tuesday.

Saretha Ragins, Ragins' mother, said finding her son's body would bring closure.

"I just want to bring him home," she said through tears.

The Sheriff's Office launched two sonar boats and an airboat Tuesday morning. Divers also searched the 2,500-acre lake.

Since the search for Ragins and Hightower began over the weekend, other agencies have offered assistance, including the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. Recreational boaters from around Tampa Bay have also been aiding in the search.

Anyone on the water who finds anything suspicious is asked to call the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office or 911.

Third day of searching for missing Lake Tarpon boaters yields nothing 12/31/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 8:25pm]

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