A Mansfield Lake Ridge High School ninth-grader was missing Friday afternoon in the Gulf of Mexico off a Padre Island pier at Corpus Christi, officials reported.
The student was in Corpus Christi for a SkillsUSA state competition, Mansfield school Superintendent Jim Vaszauskas said in an email statement.
The teen had not been officially identified by late Friday.
Corpus Christi police reported that they responded to a call at 10:45 a.m. for help searching for a 16-year-old boy. Officers met a man who told them the teenager was playing off the Bob Hall Pier on Padre Island with friends and disappeared in the choppy water.
The rest of the group was on shore and safe, the man said.
The man gave police this description of the teen: 5 feet 7 inches tall, about 150 pounds with brown hair, brown eyes and olive-tone skin, wearing black and red swim trunks.
Senior Officer Kirk Stowers told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times that the boy was not an experienced swimmer.
Other emergency services also responded to search, but waterbound first responders suspended the search in the early afternoon, the newspaper reported.
“There are no assets in the water because of the condition of the waters,” Stowers said. “But Corpus Christi police are patrolling the beach for any kind of indication” of the boy’s whereabouts.
The Coast Guard deployed a 45-foot rescue boat and a helicopter that continue to search for the boy, according to Shelly Brown with the Coast Guard’s public affairs office.
Vaszauskas’ email to the “Mansfield ISD family” said, in part: “It is with deep sadness that we must share with you that a ninth grader at Lake Ridge High School was in Corpus Christi for the SkillsUSA state competition and went missing in the rough Gulf of Mexico waters south of Bob Hall Pier. Corpus Christi firefighters and the U.S. Coast Guard are currently searching for the student.”
The rest of the students on the SkillsUSA trip were to return home Friday evening, school district spokesman Donald Williams said.
SkillsUSA is a trade and industry group that partners with educators to enhance student skills, according to the group’s website.
Mansfield school police officers were heading to Corpus Christi to help search, a school spokeswoman said.
This report includes material from the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.