Published: Jan 06, 2011 4:21 PM EST
Updated: Jan 06, 2011 1:44 AM EST

CAPE CORAL, Fla. - A Cape Coral college student is missing after classmates say he got caught in a rip tide off the coast of Costa Rica.

We've learned, Erik Downes, originally from Cape Coral, was on a study abroad program in Costa Rica with classmates from Oglethorpe University. According to reports, he was swimming with a group in the Pacific Ocean Jan. 4, when they got caught in a riptide.

He disappeared and since then, the Coast Guard has been searching for any signs of him.

Erik is a junior at Oglethorpe University, studying Pre-Med. He's also Vice President of the Student Government Association.

His good friend from Canterbury School in Fort Myers, where he previously attended, said he is kind, intelligent, and always there for friends.

As the search continues, those close to him are asking the community to join them in prayer for Erik's safe return.