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22-Year-Old Florida Woman Swept Up In Fierce Riptide Feared Dead

savannah rae finn

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A Fort Lauderdale woman is believed to be dead after a holiday to St. Thomas ended in disaster when she and her boyfriend were swept into the sea by waves this weekend.

Savannah Rae Finn, 22, a student at Florida International University, was on rocks by Peterborg Point with her boyfriend when strong waves washed them into the water at around 6 p.m., police sources told the Virgin Islands Free Press.

Her boyfriend was able to climb back onto the rocks and was rescued, but Finn, who was seen ‘face down’ and apparently ‘lifeless’ in the water by Chief Liston Thomas of St. Thomas Rescue, disappeared into the waves.

Finn had visited the island with her boyfriend and two others.

Her parents, Ray and Julie Finn, two siblings and two uncles had gone to the island hoping to recover her body, Michael Hull, a family friend, told the Sun-Sentinel.

“The family is obviously devastated, destroyed by this. There are no words in this type of situation so we just let the family know that we are there for them,” Hull said.

“It’s weighing so heavily on [Finn’s mother] that they haven’t found the body… the family just needed to be there.”

Finn worked as a server for three years at Aruba Beach Cafe in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, the Sun-Sentinel said.

Its manager, Frank Scarpace, told the publication, ‘She was a great employee, and we will miss her. We are all very sad.’

Finn, was an ‘ambitious and focused’ woman who wanted to become an attorney, Hull said. She was considering taking a year off and going to Hawaii before entering law school, he added.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to recover Finn’s body. At the time of writing it had made $5,390 of its $25,000 goal.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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