Search suspended for missing swimmer due to weather

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The search for a teenager who went missing while swimming at a beach in Sanibel has been suspended for the evening due to inclement weather.

Chief Dalton will discuss plans with agency partners on Thursday morning.

Multiple boats had been aiding the search all day Wednesday, as rescue crews hit the water and skies above Blind Pass Beach on Sanibel in the morning, hoping to find the missing teenager alive.

“I think we have sufficient resources out here now, we have a number of agencies helping us and, like I said, the federal agencies, the Coast Guard, countywide agencies and we’re gonna continue in that fashion for the time being. This is just a tragedy, literally 1000s of people swim off the beach of Sanibel all the time, and we haven’t had one of these incidents in a number of years,” said Sanibel Police Chief William Dalton.

Blind Pass Beach is an area known to have a strong current at the intersection of the waterway between Sanibel and Captiva Islands.

According to Chief Dalton, the search efforts were being prioritized in the local area around Blind Pass.

The agencies involved are the Sanibel Police Department, Lee County Sheriff’s Office and the Coast Guard.

The teenager and three other friends were swimming 100 yards from the shore just before noon on Tuesday when a natural current took them further.

One person was able to swim to shore and call for help, and two others were rescued by the Sanibel Fire Department.

Several 911 calls poured into the police department, prompting a fast response by crews in helicopters and boats, and rescue teams on the ground have been searching the area of Blind Pass.

The search for the third teen continued throughout the night on Tuesday.

Dalton said that if you’re going to swim in the water, go in numbers so someone could alert rescuers in the event of an emergency.

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