UK student disappears while swimming in Israel

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A student from the University of Kentucky who was studying abroad in the Middle East this summer is missing this weekend following a swimming accident in Tel Aviv, Israel.

TeNiya Elnora Jones, a sophomore, was swimming on Saturday in the Mediterranean Sea with two other students. Jones, 19, who is from Ft. Meyers, Florida, was studying in a summer program focusing on Arabic language.

One of the students swimming with Jones said they were pulled out to sea after being caught up in a strong current. The other two students made it back to the shoreline, but Jones did not.

Israeli officials initiated a massive search and rescue effort once students called them, an effort which is continuing, UK said.

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"Our thoughts and prayers are with TeNiya, her family and the students and others impacted," said UK President Eli Capilouto. "We are in continual contact with Teniya's family, officials in Israel, officials from the State Department and our Congressional delegation, to provide all the support we can for the family, students and others involved. We will do everything possible to provide whatever support is needed."

Students contacted the UK Police and the Council on International Exchange, the program's coordinator, which is based in Portland, Maine. CIEE is a well-known education abroad provider which has worked with the University of Kentucky before.

Jones' family was alerted to the situation on Saturday evening by CIEE officials. Officials from UK's Education Abroad program have also been in contact with the family over the past 24 hours, a statement said.

The US Embassy in Israel has been alerted and has been in communication with CIEE, UK and Jones' family for the past 24 hours.

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