A search for a Bristol man continued at press time Tuesday morning on the river near the Estiffanulga Landing in Liberty County.
Sources say Curtis Anders, 52, was thrown from his vessel Sunday morning just after putting in at the landing. He is believed to have hit an obstruction in the water. A man in a nearby camp house heard him yell for assistance and saw the boat spinning. The witness called 911 then raced to help, but could not locate Anders.
Anders' boots and ice chest have been recovered from the water.
Search and Rescue volunteers from Liberty, Calhoun, Walton and Gulf counties, along with the Liberty County Sheriff's Office, the Calhoun County Sheriff's Office, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Highway Patrol, area prison search teams, local firefighters and other volunteers are assisting in the search that began around midday Sunday. On Monday, Bay County sent a team of divers over and cadaver dogs were also brought to the scene. Searches have been going late into the night, with volunteers back out at daybreak each morning.
Curtis is known to many in both Liberty and Calhoun counties. Few have probably ever encountered him when he didn’t have a huge smile on his face. Anders previously served on the Liberty County Board of Commissioners. He has worked for years with C.W. Roberts Contracting and now with Roberts & Roberts Contracting. Family members offered much thanks to the Roberts family for their support during this trying time.
Curtis has been wed to his wife, Donifan, for over 25 years. A family member says they have been preparing to celebrate their next anniversary and he has been making plans for something special. The son of Jerry and Elaine Anders of Bristol and grandson of the late Harvey and Ella Detweiler of Blountstown, Curtis and Donifan are all about family, enjoying time with their children and grandchildren.
Curtis and Donifan’s daughter, P.J. Wheetley, expressed her appreciation on Facebook this week. “I can not begin to thank everyone for your kind words and the outreach our family has received so far,” she remarked Monday morning. “This is a journey that I just don't understand. People have offered to help in the search right down to teenagers. I really want to hold onto my faith that he is okay. The longer time goes it turns into fear. We are a tough bunch, but not sure how we will all get through this. I am doing EXACTLY what Curtis Anders would do and that is stay right here. We will sit in the truck until daylight and start over again. I love him so much.”
If anyone could survive an accident on the river and somehow make it to shore, it would be Curtis Anders who has grown up fishing from the very area where he disappeared.
“The water is 50 degrees at the top and about 41 at the bottom,” Liberty Undersheriff Brian Langston tells The County Record. “There are many speculations. The boat could have hit him or he could have got a cramp because the water was cold.”
Family and friends continue to post updates, messages of encouragement and notes of appreciation on Facebook. Please keep the Anders family in your prayers.
Any updates will be announced on The County Record website and our Facebook page.