The body of an Ohio student who was reported missing Sunday was discovered off a coastal island in South Carolina on Monday.
Divers located the body of 16-year-old Franklin “Eric” Clark around noon ET Monday, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office via WBNS-10TV in Columbus.
Clark, a rising junior and a basketball player at Thomas Worthington (Worthington, Ohio), was reported missing around 2:30 p.m. Sunday while swimming with friends in about 8-foot deep water, according to WBNS.
The sheriff’s office said those swimming with Clark think he was caught in an undertow. The other swimmers made it out of the water safely.
Clark was visiting South Carolina’s Fripp Island for the third year in a row with the Thomas Worthington basketball team.
A forensic autopsy is scheduled at the Medical University of South Carolina to confirm the cause of death.
Worthington Schools Superintendent Trent Bowers sent out the following statement to families, via WBNS:
It is with great sadness I inform you of the death of Eric Clark, one of our incoming Thomas Worthington High School 11th grade students. Eric drowned in the ocean during a basketball team trip in South Carolina earlier this week. While he was swimming with teammates, local authorities suspect he was overcome by ocean currents.
Such a tragic loss affects all of us. People can have different reactions, including shock, sadness, confusion, fear and anger. Our crisis recovery team is working to support the Thomas Worthington High School community and all those impacted by Eric’s death. It is our hope that we will continue to work together to meet the needs of our students and families throughout this difficult time.
“Worthington Strong” has become a uniting phrase to remind us that, even though we come from many different schools, we are all still one community. Eric’s death is a devastating loss for TWHS and all of Worthington. As we pull together, I appreciate that Worthington stands united as one community dedicated to loving our kids and supporting one another. Please keep Eric’s family, teammates, coaches, friends and our entire school community in your thoughts.
There has been an outpouring of support for Clark, using the hashtag #PrayforEric.
A GoFundMe page in Clark’s honor had raised nearly $16,000 by Tuesday afternoon.