Search locates body of missing man, 59, off Courtney Campbell Causeway

Posted at 8:38 AM, Jun 30, 2016

Authorities launched a search effort for a Tampa fisherman missing near the Courtney Campbell Causeway Thursday morning. Officials confirmed they found the body of missing 59-year-old Anthony Buono shortly after 10 a.m.

The Coast Guard said Buono was fishing from the Clearwater side of the causeway and did not return when expected. The report said Buono was never on a boat, and was fishing in the water north of the causeway.

Clearwater police assisted in the search. Spokesperson Rob Shaw said Buono hadn't been heard from since around 3 p.m. Wednesday.

"He liked to fish all along the causeway and under this bridge, and the currents near this bridge are really strong," Shaw said. "So we don't know if he got swept away in a current, if he had a medical condition and fell into the water. We really don't know what happened."

Buono's truck was still parked near a popular local fishing spot off a service road near the causeway when authorities arrived.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office sent a search hound to help the other agencies with their efforts.

Now, Buono's death is shining a light on the dangers fisherman can face when fishing alone.

"It can happen that quick," said Michael Robinson of Clearwater Fish & Tackle.

He said even experienced fisherman can have accidents, however, he often sees fisherman on the causeway not wearing the right shoes, putting them at risk for slipping on the rocks, or not carrying the right gear.

"You should have a net or something to get the fish with instead of just trying to grab it out of the water," Robinson said. "That way, you're not bending over with a good chance of slipping and falling."

Harlow Haagensen lives just ten minutes from the spot where Buono disappeared and fishes there often.

"All it takes is one slip, you fall down, you bang your head or something you know?" he said. "Accidents like that happen all the time."

Clearwater Police said they do not recommend going fishing alone or fishing in locations with strong currents.