Teen who drowned in Mission Bay when kayak capsized was exchange student from Ghana

SAN DIEGO - San Diego lifeguards on Sunday found the body of a teen who drowned in Mission Bay when his kayak capsized and identified him as an exchange student from Ghana.

Abdul Razak Shanun, 17, first was reported missing at 3:01 p.m. Saturday in the Sail Bay area of western Mission Bay, near the Mission Bay Sportcenter at Santa Clara Point. The search for Shanun's body was suspended Saturday night about 8 p.m. and resumed Sunday at first light.

Shanun's body was discovered at 9:35 a.m. Sunday in 25 feet of water at an undisclosed location in the bay, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department spokesman Lee Swanson said.

Shanun was in a rented kayak when it capsized and he became separated from his personal flotation device and submerged.

A tweet from the San Diego lifeguard account said it was believed he had not been wearing a life jacket.

SDFRD dispatched emergency personnel including rescue divers and a helicopter to search for Shanun Saturday, but the search was unsuccessful in Mission Bay's near-blackout visibility conditions, Swanson said. After about an hour, authorities said the search turned to a rescue operation.

The search continued Sunday with the use of vessels from the Parks Ranger Lake Team and San Diego Police Department, both equipped with side-scanning sonar, Swanson said. Five lifeguard divers were also deployed.

A rescuer told an SDFRD dispatcher Shanun had rented the kayak from the Catamaran Resort Hotel, 3999 Mission Blvd.

According to the website for the African Youth Basketball Organization, Shanun was a basketball player who attended Balboa City School, an independent college-preparatory school in Centre City, near Balboa Park.

10News spoke with a friend who attended basketball camp with Shanun. Chris Diaz says Shanun excelled at the sport.

"He was pretty good," Diaz said. "He was ranked for his grade and he had a lot of Division One offers."

The two met at basketball camp last month. Diaz says Shanun was well-respected by all his peers.

"When I first met him, he was in my group for the drills and he was a real humble guy and got along with everybody well," said Diaz.

Shanun's friends have taken to Twitter, offering condolences.

Just hours before his passing, Shanun tweeted "Mission Bay" and "Thank God for a beautiful day."

Shanun's family in Ghana was notified of his death on Sunday. His host family was too distraught to talk to 10News.

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