The body of an Ohio teenager who disappeared on Sunday while swimming off Fripp Island was recovered by divers around noon on Monday, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.
Franklin “Eric” Clark, 16, of Worthington, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus, was reported missing around 2:30 p.m. on Sunday after he was last seen swimming in approximately 7-foot-deep water, according to Fripp Island Property Owners’ Association general manager Kate Hines.
Capt. Bob Bromage of the Sheriff’s Office was not immediately aware of where Clark’s body was found.
The search for Clark was suspended around 8 p.m. Sunday night, and picked back up around 5 a.m. on Monday according to a Sheriff’s Office news release and Michael Beach, communications officer for Fripp Island Sea Rescue.
Those swimming with Clark told the Sheriff’s Office they believe he was caught in an undertow. All other swimmers out at the time have been accounted for.
Hines said Monday morning that Clark was with two other swimmers at the time of his disappearance. The stretch of shoreline where the team was swimming is about three miles long, she said, and Clark disappeared around access point 28 of the island’s 31 beach access points.
Fripp Island does not have lifeguard services on its shoreline, Hines said, but added that swimmers are in the water off of the island “all the time.”rip t
Clark was visiting the island with his basketball team, Hines said. The team and their coach have rented a house for three years for a team training camp.
“We are obviously devastated by what has happened,” Pete Scully, principal of the school told the Dispatch. “The kids and staff are struggling.”
A forensic autopsy has been scheduled by the Beaufort County Coroner’s Office at the Medical University of South Carolina to determine Clark’s cause of death, according to a separate Sheriff’s Office news release.
The Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the U.S. Coast Guard, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, Beaufort Marine Rescue, Fripp Island Security, the Fripp Island Fire Department and Fripp Island Sea Rescue, according to the release.