ST. PETERSBURG -- The search for an Avon Park man who became separated from three fellow fishermen after their boat capsized off Fort De Soto Park early Sunday has been suspended again.
Crews halted the search for 63-year-old Enrique Rodriguez on Monday morning because of weather considerations. There was no immediate word on when it would resume.
According to authorities, the four men left Fort De Soto on a fishing trip around 5 p.m. Saturday. Around 2 a.m., their 21-foot Wellcraft boat began taking on water because of rough seas.
The boaters pulled up anchor and tried to throttle their way out of trouble, but the boat capsized.
The other three fishermen - Joaquin Machado, Andrew Hernandez, and Manuel Perez - were rescued by a fisherman in another boat around 6 a.m. Sunday.
Authorities say the boaters shot up two flares that did not attract any response. They only had one life jacket on board, which they gave to Rodriguez because he couldn't swim. The three younger men clung to a cooler for hours and became separated from Rodriguez.
Around 6 a.m., another boater found the three men clinging to buoy No. 5 about eight miles off Egmont Key. The boater took the men back to the park, where they received medical attention and blankets. Crews from the Coast Guard, Pinellas County Sheriff's Office and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission suspended their search Sunday afternoon because of rain.
The FWC is now leading the search efforts.