Boater search called off near Shands Bridge


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Searchers combed the St. Johns River near the Shands Bridge for five hours after a driver going over the bridge reported a boat might have sunk with a man onboard.

Deputies from the Clay County Sheriff's Office and St. Johns County Sheriff's Office and officers from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission helped in the search on the river and from the air.

The Coast Guard was also called around 11:30 a.m. and sent its helicopter from Savannah down to help. They said people saw a man in a white shirt in an 8- to 10-foot rowboat possibly sinking.

One driver reported seeing what looked like a boater in trouble, but when the driver got to the other side of the bridge and tried to get a closer look, the boater was nowhere to be seen.

FWC officials said the search was called off just before 4 p.m.

Nothing was found.

Officials ask that any boater who was out near the Shands Bridge on Tuesday morning and fits the description call the FWC to let them know everything is OK. That number is 888-404-FWCC.