Upton family is raising money to ‘bring Nick home,’ sponsor private search

A portrait of Nicholas Upton provided by George Washington University.

A portrait of Nicholas Upton provided by George Washington University.

A representative of Nick Upton’s family has started a Go Fund Me page where Redding residents and other concerned friends can contribute money to a private search the young college student.

As of publication, the page had raised approximately $23,000 of its $35,000 goal.

According to the page, Upton’s parents are traveling to South Africa to search for him themselves, and expect to hire a private search team which would cost $1,000 per day.

Official reports

The National Sea Rescue Institute of South Africa reported yesterday it believes Nicholas Upton, a Redding college student, has drowned off that country’s ‘Wild Coast.’

According to Sea Rescue, Upton went missing during a swim in east South Africa around 11 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 31 when fellow swimmers watched him appear “to get into difficulty in the surf line.”

Upton was on spring break in the area with other University of Cape Town students, officials said.

“Others from the group attempted to find him and staff from the resort were called to join the search, but after all efforts were unsuccessful, local police were called and the alarm was raised,” a press release Sea Rescue said, though the organization was not alerted to the problem until 4 a.m.

“Extensive efforts were made to mobilize an South African Air Force helicopter rescue team with the NSRI ASR (Air Sea Rescue) but unfavorable weather conditions hampered these efforts,” the group said.

Because the weather was not suitable for air rescue efforts, it took 11 hours for any first responders to reach the “Wild Coast” area of the country where Upton went missing.

As the morning progressed on Sunday, Sea Rescue says “all efforts to get a helicopter rescue team to the site were made. SAAF 15 Squadron (Durban), SAAF 15 squadron Charlie Flight (Port Elizabeth), the EMS rescue helicopter (East London), a Police helicopter (East London), and an EMS helicopter (Umtata) remained on high alert throughout the morning in order that any one of the resources could be dispatched as soon as weather conditions improved.

“With the first break in the weather only coming after midday, and after an extensive search had already been carried out by Police and Disaster Management on the scene, and with no sign of the teenager despite the extensive search, the helicopter rescue effort was stood down.”


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  • Sheryl Hill

    I am so sorry Nick’s family must raise money to bring Nick home. University’s must do a better job of insurance and repatriation when horrible things happen.

    I am the founder of ClearCause we are working to make sure our students are protected on study abroad.

    Peace to Nick and his family.

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