CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. — A family of good Samaritans found a boater missing for nearly a day alive and bobbing in the wateroff the coast of Citrus County.
Efstathios "Steve" Moumouris, 51, of Grand Island, Fla., was taken to shore and transported to the Seven Rivers Regional Medical Center, the U.S. Coast Guard said Thursday. Coast Guard crews, along with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, had spent several hours searching for Moumouris in the waters off the Fort Island boat ramp, about 90 miles north of St. Petersburg, Fla.
Moumouris' wife said he left Wednesday in his 16-foot boat. Around 1:30 p.m., he texted her a picture of a fish he caught. A short time later he sent a message saying he was heading back, but no one heard from him again.
Search crews located his boat about nine miles west of the boat ramp around 4 a.m. Thursday, but Moumouris was not on board.
As boats and aircraft searched for Moumouris, boater Todd Hoy and his family ultimately found Moumouris about seven miles southwest of the Crystal River.
The rescuers said they had been out looking for scallops but heard that a boater was missing so they also were keeping an eye out for him. When they found Moumouris, he reportedly was not wearing a life jacket but was able to tread water for almost 24 hours.
"When we got him on board, he was fairly coherent, he gave us a number for his wife" Hoy said. "There were a lot of people out there (looking for him). We just got lucky, and we saw him."
The Citrus County Sheriff's Office said a storm had tossed Moumouris from his boat Wednesday afternoon.
Moumouris was in good condition Thursday at Seven Rivers Regional Medical Center, a spokeswoman said. But doctors were treating him for dehydration.
His wife, Anastasia Moumouris, said she has only one way to describe this outcome: "It's a miracle. I wouldn't have expected anyone to survive."