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Deputies search for swimmer missing off Turtle Beach

  • By Jim DeLa
  • | 9:40 a.m. May 20, 2024
  • | Updated 12:50 p.m. May 20, 2024
  • Siesta Key
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The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is using its dive team and side-scan sonar to search for a missing swimmer off Turtle Beach, a spokesman said.

Sheriff's office Public Information Officer Evan Keats said the Sarasota County Fire Department responded to a call of swimmers in distress May 19 at about 7:25 p.m. at Turtle Beach, near the 8900 block of Midnight Pass Road. 

When firefighters arrived, good Samaritans had already rescued at least two other swimmers in the area. The initial rescue was hampered by a language barrier, Keats said at a news conference Monday afternoon. 

One swimmer, only identified as a 23-year-old man, was unaccounted for, Keats said. 

The Sheriff's office and fire departments' marine units, assisted by the U.S. Coast Guard, searched that evening until operations were suspected around midnight. 

The search resumed at 8 a.m. with the addition of Sheriff's Office divers and side-scan sonar. Keats noted currents is the area were strong and water visibility was only 1-2 feet.  



Jim DeLa

Jim DeLa is the digital content producer for the Observer. He has served in a variety of roles over the past four decades, working in television, radio and newspapers in Florida, Colorado and Hawaii. He was most recently a reporter with the Community News Collaborative, producing journalism on a variety of topics in Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties; and as a digital producer for ABC7 in Sarasota.

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