Hillsborough County
Chad Chronister, Sheriff
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    Release Number: 16-168

    • For Immediate Release:
    • Public Information Office of Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
    • April 22, 2016
    • Contact Person:
    • Public Information Office : piooffice@hcso.tampa.fl.us
    • 813/247-8060

    Update On Missing Boater

    He has been identified.
    • Tuesday
    • April 19, 2016
    • Time: 9:00 AM
    • Hillsborough County

    Missing Victim:
     

    Kenneth Reginald Gates
    Age 32

    Passenger on the boat:

    Kearston Jones
    Age 38

    Details:

    Hillsborough County, FL - The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office suspended the search and rescue for Kenneth Gates as of Thursday afternoon.

    On April 19th 2016, at approximately 9 a.m., Kenneth Gates, and friend Kearston Jones launched a 19-foot Proline fishing boat at the boat ramp on MacDill AFB. The couple later anchored the boat in about 20-30 feet of water, approximately 2 miles west of Bahia Beach. They fished until about 11:30 am and then decided to move to a different spot.

    Gates attempted to retrieve the anchor and discovered it was stuck. Gates dove into the water in an attempt to free the anchor, and resurfaced to say he was having trouble freeing the anchor due to the heavy current. Gates then submerged again and never resurfaced.

    The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office responded to the call for help with two rescue divers delivered via HCSO Aviation Unit. Additional HCSO Marine Units, along with the US Coast Guard and FWC, have searched the waters during the past 48 hours which yielded negative results. The boat was towed back to MacDill AFB and examined by investigators. At this time, the incident appears
    accidental and no foul play is suspected.

    Next of kin has been notified.
  • Sheriff Chad Chronister
    Sheriff Chad Chronister
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