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Search for missing man continues

By Staff | May 3, 2010

According to officials, members of the Sheriff’s Office Dive Team have worked to the point of exhaustion in attempts to locate 54-year-old Gary Potts of Punta Gorda today.
The man had not been found by Monday evening.
The team assembled Monday morning and with the assistance of the Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit searched for Potts throughout the day. Divers completed a grid search on the floor of the Caloosahatchee River in all directions from the general vicinity of where the he was last seen Sunday afternoon, adjacent to Bay Pointe Yacht and Racquet Club.
Members of the Sheriff’s Office Marine and Aviation Units are expected to conduct visual checks of the Caloosahatchee again tomorrow.
The search began at about at 4:33 p.m. Sunday after the Lee County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a possible drowning. Deputies responding to a dock at 16050 Bay Pointe Blvd. were told a man had gone under water and had not returned to the surface.
Officials were told the swimmer had jumped into the water while boating but began to have difficulty. His brother told deputies he went to his aid, but their boat began to float away so he swam back and retrieved the boat. He jumped in again to assist his struggling brother but the boat floated away a second time, forcing the brother attempting the rescue to again swim back to retrieve the boat. When he returned this time, the swimmer was no longer above water, officials said.
The second man drove the boat approximately 75 yards to shore where a bystander called for help.
Multiple agencies responded to the scene and an extensive search and rescue operation was quickly under way. The rescue operation turned into a recovery operation when the swimmer could not be located, officials said.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office dive team searched the waters throughout the evening Sunday. After nightfall, water conditions and lack of visibility caused the search to be discontinued for the evening. It is tentatively scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. on Monday.
The names of the men were not released Sunday.

Source: Lee County Sheriff’s Office