Water Rescue

***Update as of 8:20 p.m. on March 22, 2017***

Body Found In Bunces Pass

At about 6:25 p.m., on March 22, 2017, a boater located the body of an adult male 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 20, 2017, near Egmont Key.

Next of kin has been notified.

***End Of Update***  

***UPDATE as of 3:30 p.m. on March 20, 2017*** 

Body found off of Egmont Key

Just after 2:00 p.m. a boater reported a body floating in the water approximately three miles west of Egmont Key. Deputies recovered the body and were able to identify it as that of Andrew Charles Dillman who along with Jie Luo, has been missing since Tuesday, March 14, 2017.

Next of kin has been notified.

***End of Update***  

***UPDATE as of 11 a.m. on March 17, 2017*** 

Recovery Operation

Deputies began their search and rescue efforts the evening of Tuesday, March 14, 2017, for two missing swimmers who jumped off a 71’ Sea Ray vessel near the north end of Shell Key.

The United States Coast Guard and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission assisted deputies in these rescue efforts for almost three days with no success.

Deputies say as of Friday, March 17, 2017, their search for the two missing swimmers has changed from a search and rescue mission to a recovery operation.

The recovery operation will be ongoing throughout the weekend until dusk on Sunday, March 19, 2017. The Sheriff’s Office will continue to utilize resources from the Flight Unit, the Marine Unit, the Dive Team, and patrol deputies to search by land.

After Sunday, March 19, 2017, deputies will conduct extra patrols by land and by water. The Flight Unit will conduct spot checks when available.

The investigation continues.

***End of Update***  

*****UPDATE as of March 15, 2017*****

News Conference with Sheriff Gualtieri

Andrew Charles Dillman (missing, first mate)
DOB: 09/30/1989
Address: 501 6th Ave. N. Apt.201 St. Petersburg

Jie Luo (missing, student)
DOB: 10/30/1995
Address: 900 Constitution Ave. Apt.E-62, Fort Collins, Colorado

Todd Davis (vessel captain)
DOB: 05/25/66
Address: 4444 Sawgrass Blvd., New Port Richey

The search continues for two missing swimmers who jumped off a 71' Sea Ray vessel named “Jaguar” while near the North end of Shell Key.  They jumped in the fast flowing tide in Pass-a-grille Channel and were caught in the outbound current in the Gulf of Mexico.

Sheriff Gualtieri says 15 Chinese college students on spring break, 14 from Colorado State University and 1 student from Stony Brook University booked the vessel through Florida Yacht Charters at Maximo Moorings Marina for a four hour cruising event. The vessel left Maximo at approximately 4:00 pm. The conditions were reported to be choppy, windy and rough. 

Captain Todd Davis took the students for a slow ride lasting about forty-five minutes to Pass-a-Grille and decided to anchor instead of continuing into the Gulf of Mexico. There was some discussion between the students and Davis about going snorkeling in the water after the vessel was anchored. Davis claimed he told them not to jump in the water and that this was booked as a cruising event. The students stated they were not told of the dangerous conditions. Five of the male students jumped into the water from the vessel several times.  The third time the students jumped into the water, only four made it back to the vessel. 

Jie Luo was having trouble swimming back to the vessel and the first mate, Andrew Charles Dillman, jumped in attempting to assist Luo. Neither Luo nor Dillman were wearing a personal flotation devices and the current began to carry both subjects out toward the Gulf of Mexico. Davis attempted to toss Dillman a personal flotation device, but the wind caught it and blew it in the opposite direction. Davis quickly pulled in the anchor and tried to search for both swimmers near the last place he saw them but he was unable to locate them.

Davis contacted the United States Coast Guard to report the incident and request assistance.

Next of kin for Dillman and Luo have been notified and the search continues for both subjects. Alcohol was on board the vessel and there were several empty bottles.

The Sheriff said “we are still in a search mode and we will continue in that mode. That is the right thing to do.”

The investigation continues and will be a joint investigation with the United States Coast Guard.

Video from the press conference was placed on the PCSO Facebook page.

YouTube: https://youtu.be/ynyDp6eAIAw

***End of UPDATE***

***Original News Release***

Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
Patrol Operations Bureau
-Patrol Central District
-Marine Unit

United States Coast Guard

Fish and Wildlife Commission

Deputies are looking for two adults who were in the water in the Pass-A-Grille channel near the Gulf of Mexico.

The incident occurred at about 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March, 14 2017.

The search is occurring in the Pass- A- Grille Channel near the Gulf of Mexico and St. Pete Beach

According to deputies, the initial call came after two subjects were discovered to be missing in the water. Due to the wind, waves and current, the subjects had been unable to get back on their vessel. Deputies responded and began to search for the two individuals.

Fifteen students from Colorado State University were on a 71 ft. charter boat off of Shell Key.  Five male students had gone swimming off the side of the vessel while anchored.  Only four were able to swim back to the vessel.  While the charter captain was assisting the four swimmers, a charter mate jumped in the water to assist the fifth student. Deputies believe the men were caught in the fast moving current and were not wearing personal flotation devices. 

The investigation and search continues.

Posted by Wednesday, March 15, 2017 12:33:00 AM Categories: Marine Unit and Flight Unit

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