CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. - A family of good Samaritans found a boater who had been missing for nearly a full day, alive and bobbing in the water off the coast of Citrus County.
The U.S. Coast Guard says 51-year-old Efstathios "Steve" Moumouris was taken back to shore and transported to the Seven Rivers Regional Medical Center.
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.
Moumouris' wife says he left on 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 texted a message saying he was heading back, but then no one heard from him again.
Search crews located his boat about nine miles west of the boat ramp around 4 a.m., but Moumouris was not on board.
FWC and Coast Guard boats and aircraft all went out to search for Moumouris, however it was Todd Hoy and his family in another boat on the water that ultimately found and rescued Moumouris, locating him about seven miles southwest of the Crystal River.
The rescuers tell WTSP-TV they had been out scalloping, but heard that a boater was missing so were also 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" says Hoy. "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 says a bad storm had tossed Moumouris from his boat on Wednesday afternoon.
Around 6:00 Thursday evening, a Seven Rivers Regional Medical Center spokeswoman said Moumouris is in "good condition", but it seems likely he will stay the night while he recovers from dehydration.
His wife Anastasia says there's only one way to describe this conclusion: "It's a miracle. I wouldn't have expected anyone to survive."