Rescuers search Gulf for grad

May 26, 2009 9:14:33 AM PDT
The Coast Guard searched the Gulf of Mexico for a second day Tuesday for an 18-year-old from Louisiana who fell overboard during a cruise to celebrate his high school graduation. The Coast Guard said Bruce O'Krepki went over the rails of the Carnival Fantasy on Sunday night about 150 miles southwest of Tampa.

O'Krepki recently graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Hammond, La., where he ran track and played soccer. He was with about 35 classmates on the ship. His uncle Rick O'Krepki said the teen's parents were among the chaperones on the cruise.

The ship had left New Orleans and was en route to Key West.

"We hope people are keeping Bruce in their thoughts and prayers," Rick O'Krepki said.

Bruce O'Krepki's soccer coach John Cox described the teen as someone who was connected to the community and his family.

"It's a huge burden for the community," Cox said.

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