homepage logo

Man rescued after canoe overturns near Sanibel Causeway

By Staff | May 8, 2018

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued a man from the water after his canoe overturned near the Sanibel Causeway over the weekend.

At 12:05 a.m. Saturday, Coast Guard Station Fort Myers Beach received a Maritime Emergency Response Team activation for an overturned kayak with a person in the water. After swimming to land, Dean Story reported to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office that he and Stephen Bivona were in a canoe when it overturned and reported Bivona missing.

Sector St. Petersburg launched a 29-foot response boat from Station Fort Myers Beach.

When the crew arrived on scene to the canoe at 12:23 a.m., they heard someone yelling for help. The crew located Bivona in the water without a life jacket. Bivona reported he was fatigued from treading water for about 30 minutes. He was transported to the Sanibel Boat Ramp, where Lee County EMS awaited.

“I’m glad he was still able to yell out to us, so we could find him quickly,” Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Harkey, a crew member who rescued Bivona, said. “We recommend every boater wear a life jacket, especially if you’re going out at night. Also, we urge boaters to attach a strobe light and sound producing device, like a whistle, to their life jackets.”

The Maritime Emergency Response Team consists of multiple federal, state and local marine emergency responders in the Fort Myers area.