A student from George Washington University has disappeared while studying abroad in South Africa this past weekend, the school confirmed.
Nicholas Upton, 19, is a junior at the school and is currently studying at a partner program in Cape Town. He has not been seen since he went swimming in the Eastern Cape Province on Sunday evening local time, GW University Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski said in a statement.
He and a group of other students studying abroad traveled to a surf lodge on the other side of the country and the National Sea Rescue Institute, the country's equivalent to a coast guard, issued a statement saying that "he is presumed to have drowned."
"Local private aviators from the area committed to dispatching private aircraft to join in the search but adverse weather conditions have prevented any of the private aircraft from flight," the NSRI said in their statement.
Upton's father Jim spoke to ABC News and said that he feels a slow emergency response hindered his son's rescue. Jim Upton said that the other students who were swimming with his son ran in to the lodge to get help but were not treated with urgency.
"Our big problem right now was that the search was very poorly handled," Jim Upton said. "When they [the students] ran in to get help from the lodge, the lodge didn't call police immediately. They called police after some time and the police were actually going to wait until daylight until they started to search but they got coerced into searching."
He said that townspeople and fellow students launched a local search, but "it took them five hours to notify the national search and rescue team that there was an issue."
Jim Upton said that even though South African authorities said that they have downgraded the search from a rescue to a recovery and authorities no longer believe Nicholas is alive, his parents are holding out hope.
"We're trying to keep our chin up and be as hopeful as possible. It's not over until it's over," Jim Upton said.
Nicholas Upton, who is originally from Redding, Conn., is a part of the George Washington rowing team and is a member of the Kappa Alpha Order fraternity, according to ABC News affiliate WJLA.