Search for missing boaters in 3rd day

Search continues on Lake Tarpon

TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. - The search continues for two boaters missing in Lake Tarpon since Saturday.

Click the video player above for the latest from multi-media journalist Harlan Schmidt.

Just before noon Monday, crews found a thermos and gas can that were identified by family members as belonging to one of the missing boaters. But as for the men themselves, Willie Ragins and Willie Hightower, there is still no sign of them or their 14-foot boat.

"It's hard. It hurts so bad. I'm so scared. I don't know what to expect," said Willie Ragin's mother, Saretha.

Hour after hour Ragins sat by the lake where her son Willie loved to fish.

Ragins and Hightower took a boat out from the dock at Anderson Park Saturday and haven't been seen since.

Authorities looked in Lake Tarpon for a second day, it's  the largest lake in Pinellas County, about 5 miles long.

They searched with sonar on boats and looked from the air.

"It's seems like they are doing everything they can. Sometime you give your best and your best isn't good enough. But I know they are doing the best they can," said Saretha Ragins.

"Partly what's making it difficult is the water is dark, it's very mucky at the bottom, there's a lot of growth at the bottom of the lake and some of the areas are deeper than others and therefore the visibility is very low," said Pinellas Sheriff's Office spokesperson Cristen Rensel.

The gas can and thermos both belonged to Ragins. They were picked up at the north end of the lake, near where several items other items were found Sunday including coolers and a life jacket.

His mother identified the equipment as that of her sons. "All that was his. We just went berserk, because now we don't know what to think. Now we don't know what way to go, what way to turn. Who to talk to. It's just hard."

Authorities say they can still search after dark with boats, but will no longer be able to use helicopters or send the dive team into the water.

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