CSU student missing off Florida coast

Julia Rentsch

UPDATE:

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has announced they are no longer conducting a search-and-rescue mission and have changed to a recovery operation in the nearly three-day search for the missing swimmers.

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The United States Coast Guard and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission assisted deputies in these rescue efforts with no success. The recovery operation will be ongoing through Sunday, March 19. 

ORIGINAL STORY:

CSU student Jie Luo is missing after being swept away by a current in the Pass-A-Grille channel near the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday.

According to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, 15 CSU students were on a 71-foot charter boat off of Shell Key in Pinellas County, Florida, when five of them decided to go swimming.

In rough water and high wind, 21-year-old Luo could not swim back to the boat. A charter mate, 27-year-old Andrew Dillman, jumped into the water to help him while the four other swimmers were assisted by the charter captain.

Deputies believe the men were caught in the fast moving current and were not wearing personal flotation devices.

The search for Luo and Dillman is ongoing. Luo is a senior business major studying finance and real estate. 

The University released a statement that said they were very concerned to hear what has happened in Florida.  

The Florida Coast Guard. (Photo via Hans Hillewaert, Wikipedia Commons Creative License)
The Florida Coast Guard. (Photo via Hans Hillewaert, Wikipedia Commons Creative License)

“Our hope and our thoughts go out to the family and friends of the two missing men as the search continues,” CSU spokesman Mike Hooker wrote in an email to the Collegian. “We hope for the safety of rescue crews as they continue the search, and we will work to offer whatever support we can to the students and families involved.”

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CSU students are on spring break March 13-17, 2017.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly spelled the last name of the missing CSU student. His name is Jie Luo, not Lou.

This is a developing story; stay with the Collegian for more details as we receive them. If you know any CSU student who is in the area or have any information about this case, please email news@collegian.com.

Collegian editor in chief Julia Rentsch can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter at @julia_rentsch.