Man drowns while wade-fishing
Wade fisher fatality
John Bell and Kelley Grey await the transfer drowning victim Terry Cox, brought to an awaiting ambulance by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Law Enforcement Officer Terry Noll. Islander Photo: Bonner Joy
A fisher wading in the shallow waters along the southern shoreline of the Intracoastal Waterway southeast of the Anna Maria Island Bridge drowned July 27 after possibly being swept under by a rip current, according to a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office report.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission Law Enforcement Officer Terry Noll, who had been patrolling the area, found the body of Terry Cox, 50, in the bay in about 4-foot depth some 120 yards south of Manatee Avenue.
Around 3:30 p.m., Cox and friend John Bell were 150 feet apart while wade-fishing near the bridge in the waterway. Bell saw Cox’s arms flail and thought he had hooked a fish until he heard Bell yell for help, according to the report.
Bell said he heard Cox say he needed help, and he noticed Cox “was a good distance from the shoreline and in the rip current that passes under the bridge,” according to the MCSO report. “Cox appeared to be drowning,” Bell reported.
He was panicking, and Bell said he was yelling for him to swim away from the current and toward the mangroves to the west. Bell attempted to swim out to Cox, but, according to the deputy’s synopsis, “the water was too deep for him to swim and fight the currents that were present.”
When Cox got out of the water to seek help, he could no longer see Bell, according to the report.
Cox’s significant other, Kelley Grey, was at the scene when Cox was brought to shore, and although she declined to be named, said, “He was a good man.”
Noll brought the body of Cox to the Kingfish Boat Ramp on the north side of Manatee Avenue for transfer to an ambulance. FWC, Holmes Beach police officers, Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Emergency Medical Services and the medical examiner’s office had gathered in response and to review the event.
The boat ramp is Holmes Beach jurisdiction, however, because the drowning occurred in the waters nearby, the MCSO handled the report and death investigation.