LEE COUNTY, Fla - A deadly discovery in the Caloosahatchee after a woman finds a manatee floating in the water Thursday.
Boni Raitt has lived along the Caloosahatchee river in Lee County since 1971. Over the years she has spent countless mornings, just like Thursday, looking out over the water. "today, I saw four or five manatees. They were all over here having a good old time."
When Boni returned a short while later, one of the manatees was found floating in the water. "Just to think about it brings tears to my eyes," says Boni. "FWC finally came. He looked and said it's a code seven, he's dead. I said oh my gosh. I started crying. I felt so bad."
FWC officials were called out to retrieve the manatee. At this point they have no idea what may have caused the death.
Kevin Baxter with FWC says, "watercraft is one cause of death for manatees, they can get hit by a watercraft and that can cause death."
Last year at this time, there were 42 reported manatee deaths in Lee County. This year there are 51. FWC officials say it's too early to tell if there is any trend because numbers fluctuate from year to year.
"You couldn't tell if a boat ran over him. There were no marks on him," says Boni. "There's too many manatee deaths in Florida and it's sad. It's so sad.'
The manatee will undergo a necropsy in St. Petersburg to determine the cause of death.