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Date of Issue: October 05, 2006

Man dies off Anna Maria

drowning pic
Man dies off Anna Maria
Onlookers and friends of the deceased, Insert: Drowning sorrow. Islander Photos: Jack Elka

A 17-year-old Tampa man apparently drowned Monday afternoon in the Gulf of Mexico off Anna Maria.

Manatee County Sheriff’s Office spokespersons did not release the name of the victim, who was said to be from Hillsborough County.

He and six other people had been at the beach near Pine Avenue in Anna Maria when they apparently decided to take an abandoned small boat out in the Gulf. According to MCSO, the victim jumped off the boat moored several hundred yards offshore around 2 p.m.

U.S. Coast Guard Station Cortez responded after he was reported missing at about 3:15 p.m., as did Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies, and his body was found about 300 yards offshore. The victim was transported to Station Cortez.

"There was a group of about seven people who came ashore from a sailboat," said Sandbar Restaurant manager Joe Rogers, who was among the distraught onlookers.

An autopsy will be performed, sheriff’s officials said, to determine cause of death.