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Broken bridge leaves boaters stranded on Caloosahatchee River

broken bridge
Posted at 5:50 PM, May 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-27 05:57:58-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — On Thursday, boaters were stuck on the Caloosahatchee River for more than 24 hours after a broken railroad bridge kept vessels from passing through.

Fort Myers Beach Coast Guard said it was all caused by a damaged gear.

The bridge's malfunction kept a group of 50 people from crossing through and for Captain Ron Sheradin, his day trip quickly went from hours to over a day on the boat.

“We had a lot of people on open boats with no covering and Florida sun is brutal,” said Sheradin.

The brutal circumstances were shared by his passenger Bob Horowitz.

“We left the captain's house at 8:30," said Horowitz.

Horowitz and Captain Ron are part of the group, Merry Mariners, made up of boat enthusiasts in Southwest Florida.

On Wednesday, Captain Ron along with 11 other passengers went out on the water only to find the bridge closed when returning home.

“After eating lunch, we found the bridge down,” said Captain Ron.

On Thursday, more than 24 hours later, the Fort Myer Beach coast guard said the railroad bridge, which belongs to the Seminole Gulf Railway, couldn't be raised to let boats through due to a damaged gear.

Captain Ron said he was trying to get answers from the railroad company from the start.

“And no one is answering… we can't give you an update,” he said.

Left without answers, and passengers Captain Ron felt he is responsible for, he decided to dock at the Boathouse Restaurant where he had to tell 49 other people they needed to call an Uber to get home.

Captain Ron said he would stay with the boat but he couldn't un-dock it alone.

“I just said to the other folks, I need part of my crew behind me whenever the bridge opens,” he said.

Captain Ron and Bob Horowitz decided to stay with the boat, eventually sleeping onboard overnight.

By 4:30 PM on Thursday, almost two days since Captain Ron had set sail, the bridge was finally lifted and he was able to return home.

An experience, he is keeping a sense of humor about.

“It feels like a three-hour tour on Gilligan's Island only we didn't shipwreck the boat, we still have the boat," said Captain Ron.