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At approximately 2 a.m. this morning, HCSO received a 911 call in reference to a resident hearing an unknown male calling for help in the area of 10th St. SW and Woodland Estates Avenue in Ruskin. HCSO patrol units along with Aviation responded to the scene and located Robert Sickler, 46 lying on top of his john boat that had been capsized in the Little Manatee River. Robert was too far out from the shore for the deputies on scene to utilize a throw rope, so the aviation unit on scene lowered a small inflatable raft. Robert was able to use the raft and made his way to the shore were he was checked out by HCFR. Robert was not injured and was released on scene. HCSO Marine units removed the john
boat from the river.
According to Sickler, he was fishing in the river alone when the tide began to move out to the bay. He began to paddle to the shore at which point the current became to strong and pulled his boat into the U.S. 41 bridge pylon which caused it to capsize. He attempted to paddle to the shore while lying on the top of the boat but the current was to strong and he became tired.