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University of Florida Student Studying in Africa Dies in River

A University of Florida student studying in southern Africa was found dead after getting caught in a river's strong current.

Thad Hammon Owens was part of the university's three-month wildlife ecology program in Namibia. African officials, the U.S. Embassy, local villagers and private search-and-rescue teams had been searching for him since Thursday when he tried to swim across the Kunene River and was swept away. The waters are filled with crocodiles so officials feared for Owens' safety.

The 27-year-old's family issued a statement saying his body was found on the river late Saturday. They have requested that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Thad H. Owens Wildlife Ecology Fund at the University of Florida Foundation.