Fort Rucker military student disappears during Florida river tubing trip

Mark Price

The Charlotte Observer

A search is underway for a military student from Fort Rucker, Alabama, who vanished while tubing with a group of students on Florida’s Chipola River, according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

The student’s identity has not been released.

Jackson County Sheriff Donnie Edenfield told station WJHG that the missing person “is an Iraqi Colonel” who was at Fort Rucker for an international training program.

Investigators say the incident was reported around 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20, in Marianna, between Spring Creek Park and Magnolia Landing. Marianna is about 65 miles northwest of Tallahassee.

“Deputies responded and determined an individual with a group of military students from Fort Rucker had sunk below the water’s surface and could not be located,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

A Jackson County Dive team searched the area Saturday and Sunday and was scheduled to continue Monday, Aug. 22, officials said. The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission and Florida Highway Patrol also joined the search, officials said.

“If you have information regarding the whereabouts of this subject, please contact the JCSO at 850-482-9624,” officials said.

Tubing is a popular activity on the 89-mile-long river, with private outfitters renting tubes for 2- and 4-mile treks that include mild rapids.

Fort Rucker is about 60 miles northwest of where the student vanished, officials said. The 63,000-acre fort in southeast Alabama “serves as the headquarters for U.S. Army Aviation.”

Fort Rucker – Google

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