Sanibel Police Chief: crews now in recovery mode for missing teen swimmer

Reporter: Asha Patel Writer: Nicholas Karsen
Published: Updated:

The search for a teenager who went missing while swimming at a beach in Sanibel has now become classified as a recovery mission.

According to the Sanibel Police Department, as of 5 p.m., the search wrapped up for the day.

The announcement came from Sanibel Police Chief William Dalton at around noon Thursday.

“It’s been 48 hours since the swimmer who entered the water at Blind Pass has gone missing,” said Dalton in a statement. “The thoughts of the entire Sanibel community are with the family and friends of the young man during this difficult time.”

Multiple agencies, including the Sanibel Police DepartmentLee County Sheriff’s Office and the Coast Guard, have been searching the waters of Blind Pass Beach since early Tuesday afternoon.

The recovery mode means crews do not expect to find this teenager alive after he was swept out to the ocean with several friends by a natural current.

They were swimming 100 yards from the shore of Blind Pass Beach just before noon when the current took them out further.

One of them was able to swim to shore and call for help, and the Sanibel Fire Department rescued two others.

Multiple boats had been aided in a search all of Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday as rescue crews took to the water and skies above the location, hoping to find the missing teenager alive.

The search was called off late Wednesday afternoon due to hazardous weather conditions.

The unidentified missing swimmer has had Sanibel locals shaken at the idea of a person being left out at sea for more than two days.

“It really hit home when I found out it was actually someone from our local area,” said local Debi Brown.

The Sanibel Chief of Police, William Dalton, told WINK News and beachgoers alike on Wednesday, “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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