The search for two missing adults in the Pass-a-Grille channel has changed from a search and rescue mission to a recovery operation.
The announcement was made Friday by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
The men went missing Tuesday afternoon at Shell Key after 21-year-old Jie Lou, a senior at Colorado State University, jumped off a rented charter boat. He was one of five to do so.
Lou struggled to get back to the yacht, so charter mate Andrew Dillman, 27, of New York, jumped into the water to help. But the powerful water overtook him as well.
The Coast Guard announced Thursday night it had suspended its search for the two men.
According to Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, Capt. Todd Davis took 15 college students on what was to be a four-hour cruise. Because of water conditions, Davis anchored at Pass-a-Grille about 45 minutes into the cruise.
Davis overheard talk from the students about jumping into the water, and they were warned not to, the sheriff said.