Area Search Has Happy Ending

Missing boater in Walton County was found safe early Tuesday morning drifting in Choctawhatchee Bay.

34-year-old Billy Gene Crawford had left the docks at mid afternoon Monday in his 18 footy Catamaran. When he hadn’t returned by 8 PM a search was started.

Using a helicopter, boats, night vision goggles and search lights it took almost six hours to find him. Crawford was found safe in his sailboat west of the US-331 Causeway.

He told rescuers when he first saw their lights and the search helicopter he was about four miles away in the bay.

The sails to his boat had been severely damaged. The vessel was not equipped lights, a whistle or life jacket.