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George Washington University student drowns off coast of South Africa

Posted at 7:28 PM, Sep 04, 2015

Nicholas Upton — George Washington University

The body of a 19-year-old George Washington University student who drowned in South Africa was found Friday afternoon, according to the school and local police.

Nicholas Upton had been missing since going for a swim Sunday evening on the Wild Coast near Coffee Bay with five other students, according to South Africa’s National Sea Rescue.

“He went missing in the surf after appearing to get into difficulty in the surf line,” the Sea Rescue statement said.

Other students in the group tried to find him and rescue teams with helicopters were prevented by bad weather from conducting an immediate search, according to the Sea Rescue report.

Upton, a junior majoring in international affairs, had traveled to the coast with 11 other students during a break in a study abroad program in Cape Town, according to a statement from Georgia Washington University.

He was from Redding Connecticut, and a member of the men’s rowing team and Kappa Alpha fraternity, school officials said.

A private helicopter helping in the search spotted the body Friday afternoon about 3 miles from the site of the drowning and local divers recovered the body, police brigadier Prevor Mey said. An autopsy is expected to be done on Monday, police say.

Upton’s parents had already traveled to South Africa, police said.

“Our hearts go out to Nick’s family and friends,” George Washington’s Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski said in a statement. “He touched many during his time at GW, and he will be missed.”