An international student from India attending Florida State University died from an apparent drowning Sunday afternoon on St. George Island.
According to a report from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy James Ward arrived minutes after 2:35 p.m. to the scene where St. George Island first responders were administering CPR.
Jay Abbott, chief of the fire department, said the first responders had been alerted by multiple telephone calls from onlookers.
The man, who had earlier been playing volleyball on the beach, was identified as Atanu Mitra, an FSU post-doctoral student in the department of chemistry and biochemistry.
Mitra, who was on a day trip with college friends, was found floating in the surf face down by a chemistry classmate, Saleh Alatiqi, of Tallahassee. Beachgoers retrieved Mitra’s body prior to the arrival of first responders, and tried to resuscitate him.
According to witnesses, Mitra went swimming by himself after playing volleyball with several females on the beach.
“Other friends had also went to the pavilions,” wrote Ward. “At this time no one was in the area who had seen Mitra after the volleyball game anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes.”
Emergency medical staffers said Mitra had been in the water for some time and they tried all lifesaving measures but were unable to resuscitate him. After contacting physicians from Weems Memorial Hospital over the EMS radio, Mitra was pronounced dead at 3:19 p.m.
Kelley’s Funeral Home transported the body to the office of Dr. Anthony Clark, the medical examiner in Tallahassee, for completion of an autopsy.
Paige Dabncy, a classmate of Mitra’s, told the deputy that his family was in India, and that an FSU advisor with the international students would assist with notification.
Ward wrote that he spoke with the FSU police department, and that Mitra’s property, including his vehicle, was taken to the sheriff’s office for safekeeping.
In a Wednesday article in the Tallahassee newspaper, a close friend, FSU computer science doctoral student Tathagata Mukherjee, said Mitra traveled to FSU in 2011 from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay. He said FSU students and friends, as well as the Indian and Bengali Associations of Tallahassee, are working to raise money to send the body back to his family in India.
He said donations continue to come in to cover the cost of returning Mitra’s body to his parents and to pay for medical costs.