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Body of Fort Rucker military student found during search of Florida river, cops say

Body of Fort Rucker military student found during search of Florida river (Jackson County Sheriff's Office/Facebook)

The body of a military student from Fort Rucker, Alabama, was recovered nearly two days after he vanished while tubing with other 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 the student was “an Iraqi Colonel” who was training at Fort Rucker.

Body of Fort Rucker military student found during search of Florida river (Jackson County Sheriff’s Office/Facebook)

“Saturday, Aug. 20, at approximately 1 p.m. the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) received a 911 call about a person in distress at the intersection of Spring Creek and the Chipola River,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

“Deputies responded and determined an international military student attending training at Fort Rucker had sunk below the water’s surface and could not be located.”

The search was focused between Spring Creek Park and Magnolia Landing in Marianna, about 65 miles northwest of Tallahassee.

A dive team searched the river and located “a body matching the description of the missing person” at 12:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 22, officials said.

Fort Rucker officials told McClatchy News the identity of the student will be released by his nation’s embassy after family members have been notified.

The student was involved in “an approved, supervised, and guided tour on the Chipola River,” when he “fell overboard and did not resurface,” Fort Rucker officials said in a news release.

“Fort Rucker personnel also on the trip began searching immediately while calling first responders,” officials said. “The incident is under investigation.”

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.”


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