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Search ends for man swept away off California
Pastor Maurigro Cervantes demonstrates how his cousin, Benito, was swept away by a wave during a baptism.

Rescuers have ended their search for a 43-year-old man swept to sea during a baptism ceremony on a Southern California beach.

The US Coast Guard says the search was called off about midnight Sunday and there are no plans to resume it.

A wave pulled three people into the ocean about 10am off Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve and only two managed to return to shore on their own.

Pastor Maurigro Cervantes of Jesus Christ Light of the Sky Church says his cousin, Benito Flores, was helping perform a baptism when he was swept away.

“A big wave came and took Benito, I tried to take him out, he was heavy and then another big wave came,” said Cervantes.

A wave pulled three people into the ocean about 10am off Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve and only two managed to return to shore on their own. Photo: Channel 3 News.

He said that there were around 25 people at the ceremony, which the church performs only two or three times a year.

Santa Barbara County Battalion Chief Diondray Wiley, said “There were three people initially, two were able to self-rescue and the one, is the one that’s unaccounted for.”

“We gridded from Oso Flaco to Guadalupe beach and further south. The coast guard followed the current to do our searches,” Wiley said.

Fire Captain David Sadecki said Monday that it would be difficult for anyone to survive more than 30 minutes in the cold water.


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