BONITA SPRINGS, Fl. - The Lee County Sheriff's Office continues to search for a Fort Myers man they say jumped off a bridge early Sunday morning.
Deputies say 23-year-old Jesse Ruth was hanging out with two other people around 6 am when they decided to jump off the New Pass bridge in Bonita Springs into the water.
Two people came to the surface. Ruth did not.
Emotional family and friends gathered near the New Pass Bridge trying to comfort each other and hoping a massive search and rescue mission would end with 23-year-old Jesse Ruth found.
"We will continue to search until we've exhausted all efforts," says Sgt. David Valez with the Lee County Sheriff's Office.
Ruth's girlfriend tells us, Jesse was at her house in Bonita Springs and left unexpectedly around 5:30 Sunday morning.
Lee County Sheriff's Deputies say Ruth, his brother Eliseo and their friend Cody Hilton all came here to the New Pass Bridge.
Deputies say the men jumped off the bridge for entertainment. Eliseo and Hilton both swam to shore. But Jesse never did. Kayakers say the current was very strong that time of the morning.
"Incoming tide like I said could be... if you drop something, you wold drift hundreds of feet in a matter of minutes," says Sterling Novotny.
Family members say Eliseo called 9-1-1, starting a several hour search and rescue mission underwater, on land and in the air. Around noon, the search in this immediate area where Ruth jumped was called off.
"However they are going to expand the search out further into the channel... the particular boat they are using does have sonar capability which will obviously aid in trying to find anything in the water," Sgt. Valez adds.