CSU stu­dent, boat crew mem­ber miss­ing

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By The As­so­ci­ated Press

st. pete beach, fla.» Au­thor­i­ties in Florida are con­tin­u­ing to search for a col­lege stu­dent and a char­ter boat crew mem­ber who went miss­ing in tur­bu­lent Tampa Bay-area wa­ters.

Pinel­las County Sher­iff Bob Gualtieri said Wed­nes­day dur­ing a news con­fer­ence that 15 Colorado State Univer­sity stu­dents, on spring break, were on a char­ter boat an­chored Tues­day evening off Shell Key when five male stu­dents went swim­ming off its side.

Four stu­dents made it back. Coast Guard of­fi­cials said Wed­nes­day a crew mem­ber saw the fifth stu­dent strug­gling and jumped into the wa­ter to help.

The Coast Guard iden­ti­fied the crew mem­ber as 27year-old An­drew Dill­man of New York and the stu­dent as 21-year-old Jie Luo of China.

Gualtieri said there are con­flict­ing re­ports about whether the cap­tain of the 71-foot boat al­lowed the stu­dents to swim in the rough wa­ter. The cap­tain said he didn’t give per­mis­sion, but the stu­dents said the cap­tain didn’t say they couldn’t swim.

Deputies told the Tampa Bay Times that nei­ther man was wear­ing a flota­tion de­vice. The stu­dents, who were stay­ing in Or­lando but came to the Gulf Coast to take the boat trip, were drink­ing, Gualtieri said. There’s no in­di­ca­tion the crew was in­tox­i­cated.

Gualtieri said his agency, along with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion Com­mis­sion and the U.S. Coast Guard, will con­tinue search­ing for the men for at least a day, if not longer.

“Ex­pe­ri­ence tells us that we need to keep this go­ing,” he said, adding that con­di­tions in the Gulf are choppy, with heavy cur­rents.

Dill­man’s fam­ily mem­bers are flying to the area from New York and Luo’s fam­ily is con­sid­er­ing com­ing from China, he said.

Au­thor­i­ties have no­ti­fied the Chi­nese con­sulate in Hous­ton.

“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 said in a state­ment Wed­nes­day.

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