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Man rescued after boat swept away, capsizes in Little Manatee River

RUSKIN — A man was rescued early Thursday morning after his boat was swept away by a strong tide and capsized in the Little Manatee River, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

The incident started at about 2 a.m., deputies said, when they received a 911 call after a resident heard a man calling for help near 10th Street SW and Woodland Estates Avenue.

When deputies arrived they found 46-year-old Robert Sickler lying on top of his john boat, which had capsized.

They determined Sickler was too far out to be rescued from land, deputies said, so a sheriff's helicopter lowered a small inflatable raft and Sickler rowed himself back to shore.

He said he was fishing alone when he got caught up by an outgoing tide.

Sickler tried to paddle back to shore, he told deputies, but the tide pulled his boat into a bridge pylon at U.S. 41, causing it to capsize.

He also said he tried to paddle ashore atop the boat but the current was too strong and it wore him out. Sickler was not injured during the incident.