NORWALK - A Redding couple is desperate for help after their son was reported missing off the coast of South Africa.

Margaret Mirowski, the mother of 19-year-old Nicholas Upton, says her son was studying abroad in South Africa through George Washington University. She says he was last seen swimming with friends late Sunday night.

Officials with the National Sea Rescue Institute - South Africa's equivalent to the U.S. Coast Guard - believe Upton may have been caught in a riptide. They say their effort has gone from a search and rescue to a recovery operation now that Upton is "presumed to have drowned."

Despite the news, Upton's family says they will not give up hope. They are reaching out to lawmakers, media outlets and the South Africa Embassy to help strengthen the search.

Officials say that Monday's search was called off due to poor weather, but it will resume on Tuesday.