Authorities search for missing CSU student, crew member off Florida coast

21-year-old Jie Luo was on spring break
Posted at 6:01 AM, Mar 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-16 00:37:59-04

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla -- Florida authorities are searching for a Colorado State University student who went missing in rough waters near the Tampa area.

The student, 21-year-old Jie Luo, was swimming near a charter boat when he was swept away by strong currents. A crew member who dove in after him is also missing.

"Our approach to this right now is that there are two survivors out there and we need to get out there and find them," said Lt. Paul Simpson with the Coast Guard.

The two went missing Tuesday evening in Pass-A-Grille Channel near the Gulf of Mexico. The search began that night and continued all day Wednesday.

As of last check, the Coast Guard and other local authorities planned to search through the night on Wednesday, hoping to find the pair alive.

The other missing person is Andrew Dillman, 27, from New York, who worked for the charter boat company.

Fifteen CSU students chartered the 71-foot boat complete with a captain and crew as part of their spring break trip. Five male students jumped in the water to swim while the boat was anchored, only four were able to swim back.

Luo is a business major studying finance and real estate at CSU.

CSU released the following statement Wednesday:

The safety and well-being of our students is our top priority and we are very concerned to hear of what has happened in Florida. We are gathering details and when we learn more from law enforcement, we will share information that we are able to provide. The thoughts and hope of our CSU community are for the safety of our students involved in this incident, with the missing student and rescue crew member and families and friends of those involved, and for the safety of rescue crews who are involved in the search.


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