Expert weighs in on swimmer missing in Sanibel waters

Reporter: Haley Zarcone
Published: Updated:

A family is waiting for the sun to rise again, and a teenager to come home.

It’s been nearly 36 hours since he was swept into The Gulf. The rescue mission is suspended for the night due to the weather.

Crews have been searching the water, the air and the ground for the teenager at Sanibel’s Blind Pass Beach.

The water conditions at Blind Pass aren’t what we see at most beaches in Southwest Florida. The current is known to be strong at the beach.

Blind Pass is a quick swim away from Turner Beach on Captiva, but swimming across that waterway, you’d feel a stronger current than you may expect.

We spoke with Dr. Felix Jose from the FGCU Water School.

He said, “The currents are very strong in the Blind Pass because of the presence of the sun shores, so if you look at the mount of the past, you can see a series of sand shores even some sand bars are there, so they are constricting the channels.”

When the ankle-deep water turns to waist-deep, you can feel that natural pull.

The difference in current between the pass and where it meets The Gulf, the intensity of the narrow waterway and the tide are enough to pull someone out to the sea.

“I looked at the tidal prediction for the area yesterday actually from 8 a.m. till 4 p.m. The current was coming out of the Pine Island sound, so the currents are more strong when it is coming out compared with the currents going in,” Jose said.

The second day of the search for this missing swimmer ended when the storms rolled in. It’s another search left without answers for where this boy is.

As you can imagine searching at night is easier said than done.

The city of Sanibel said that on Thursday, agencies will discuss the next steps in this search.

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