Body found floating near Bunces Pass identified as missing boater

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA)—For the family of Jie Luo, it was a moment of both sorrow and relief as the young man’s body was finally located after days of searching.

Pinellas County investigators worked hard with the medical examiner’s office to make a positive ID. Then, they had the difficult talk of contacting the 21-year-old’s worried mother in China. Moments later, a family member who has been in Tampa Bay during the search rushed to the dock to pray over the student’s body.

The discovery was made around 6:25 p.m when a boater located the body of a man floating in Bunces Pass, just south of Shell Key Preserve. Marine Unit deputies recovered the body and were able to identify the victim as, 21-year-old Jie Luo.

Jie Luo and Andrew Dillman were reported missing on March 14, 2017, after they jumped off a vessel near the north end of Shell Key. Andrew Dillman’s body was recovered on March 20th near Egmont Key.

The tragedy unfolded just over a week ago during spring break when 115 students from Colorado State University chartered a boat. In the end, the Highwinds in rough water proof to be too much when the student jumped into the water to swim.

Sheriff Gualtieri told WFLA, “Luo had trouble getting back to the boat. And the current was very strong and the current was going out into the Gulf, so at that point, so at that point, it was obvious Luo was in distress.”

As Luo was struggling in the water, a crewmember from the bow jumped in to save him. But, 27-year-old Andrew Dillman was unable to bring the student to safety. Authorities tell us that neither man was wearing a life jacket. Both men would lose their lives that day in the swift current.

 

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