USF student goes missing in Costa Rica

Students on an alternative summer break trip in Costa Rica reported USF senior Aly Lakdawala missing Saturday after the group went swimming.

Fourteen students left May 8 to work with the International Volunteer Headquarters as part of the USF Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, said Michael Hoad, University spokesman.

The students were volunteering in turtle rescues and at an orphanage.

Hoad said Jennifer Espinola, director of the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, went on the trip and notified USF on Saturday afternoon that the group was unable to find Lakdawala, 21, who is double majoring in international studies and philosophy.

“The problem is it’s an area where rip tides are a common cause of death in Costa Rica,” Hoad said.

The Costa Rica Coast Guard, American Embassy, American Red Cross, local police and lifeguards are searching for Lakdawala.

Maria Crummett, dean of international studies, is flying to Costa Rica to assist Lakdawala’s family, who are also going to the country.

Hoad said the remaining students plan to return to the United States as soon as possible.