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Body of missing boater recovered from Caloosahatchee River

Pedro Pablo Ramirez and Stepfather
Posted at 6:27 PM, Mar 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-22 08:41:15-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The body of 40-year-old Pedro Pablo Ramirez has been found by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

Pablo went missing while fishing with his stepfather on the Caloosahatchee River on Sunday.

His family traveled from Orlando and Miami to Fort Myers to help with Monday's search.

“We FaceTime with them, and they were fine they were heading back actually," said Olivia Arrillaga, Ramirez's older sister. “They were having fun.”

When FaceTiming her baby brother and stepfather they talked about the two's day of fishing on the Caloosahatchee River. She said the conversation happened 30 minutes before their 16-foot boat capsized late Sunday afternoon.

Pedro Pablo Ramirez and Stepfather

“We heard yelling and decided to get the binoculars out to take a look to see what was going on in the river and we saw a man floating in the river," said Austin Zajack.

Zajack said he fought through choppy, frigid, white-capped water to help rescue the stepfather.

”I found him right out here, he was probably about 250 yards out I'll say. When I picked him up and turned around to paddle back in, we were over here," said Zajack. "So the current and the wind was definitely blowing us that way.”

Ramirez's stepfather

With rough conditions and seeing no one else, Zajack had to make a hard decision and get the stepdad back to shore. Hours later Ramirez couldn't be found.

“He has a daughter, who is his world, so he would have fought tooth and nail to swim back to shore to get her.”