As authorities in St. Thomas continue looking for a Fort Lauderdale woman who was swept out to sea by rough waters Friday as she was vacationing with her boyfriend, her parents and other relatives have arrived at the island, according to family friends.
Savannah Rae Finn, 22, is a student at Florida International University. Her parents, Ray and Julie Finn, two siblings and two uncles are now in St. Thomas, according to Michael and Karen Hull, longtime friends and neighbors of the Finns.
“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,” said Michael Hull.
The Hulls said they have been texting with Julie Finn as she made her way to St. Thomas on Sunday.
“It’s weighing so heavily on her that they haven’t found the body … the family just needed to be there,” Michael Hull said.
Chief Liston Thomas of St. Thomas Rescue told the St. Thomas Source that Finn fell into rough water. During a rescue attempt, Finn went face down into the water and appeared to be lifeless, the chief said. The high surf and rough waters prevented crews from rescuing Finn during the search, Thomas said.
According to witnesses, Finn and her boyfriend were washed off from the rocks into the sea, St. Thomas Source reported. The boyfriend managed to climb onto the rocks and was rescued, police told the St. Thomas Source.
Finn worked as a server for three years at Aruba Beach Cafe in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, according to manager Frank Scarpace.
“She was a great employee, and we will miss her,” Scarpace said. “We are all very sad.”
Hull described Finn as an ambitious and focused young woman who was planning to become an attorney.
Finn was preparing to graduate this year and considering taking a year off in Hawaii before entering law school, Hull said.
“Our kids grew up together, we’ve known the family for 18 years, and when something like this happens, you can’t help help but think about your own children,” he said.