Man Lost At Sea While Performing
California Beach Baptism
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[April 01, 2014]
By Laila Kearney
(Reuters) — A man swept out to sea by
7-foot waves during an oceanside baptismal ceremony in California on
Sunday remained missing a day later as hopes faded he would be found
alive, officials said on Monday.
U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Adam Stanton said three men were
initially washed away by the surf while performing the religious
ceremony, held on the shore of the Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve
in the small Santa Barbara County city of Guadalupe.
Two of the men were able swim back to shore without injuries, but
the third man, whom authorities have not named, was still lost on
Monday afternoon, according to a statement by the Santa Barbara Fire
The missing man had been helping to perform a baptism in association
with the Jesus Christ Light of the Sky church, which holds similar
events two or three times a year, according to local newspaper the
Santa Maria Times.
Some 25 people, mostly Spanish-speaking, attended the event, the
Pastor Maurigro Cervantes told Fox News-affiliate KCOY TV that he
was one of the three men conducting the baptism when big waves began
to roll in and pulled his cousin out to sea.
"I tried to take him ... but he was heavy and then another big wave
come and took him," Cervantes said.
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Search helicopters and boats joined in the rescue effort for the
missing man all day on Sunday, Santa Barbara Fire Department Captain
David Sadecki said.
By Monday afternoon, the Coast Guard had called off its air search
without finding the man. Local officials with rescue watercraft
remained in the area, Sadecki said.
(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Steve Orlofsky)
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