Man Swept Into Ocean During Baptism; Coast Guard Calls Off Search in California Beach

Published 01 April 2014

The search for a missing man swept into sea, was called off by the Coast Guard on Monday.

Benito Flores, 43, was helping his cousin, Pastor Mauigro Cervantes perform a baptism on Sunday, Mar. 30, when a wave pulled him away into sea on a Southern California Beach. 

As the U.S. coast guard searched for Flores, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department received "numerous reports" of a body near Guadalupe Dunes Park, David Sadecki, a Fire Department spokesman, told NBC News. 

Now rescuers have ended their search for Flores, who along with his cousin, aided in the baptism of a member from the Jesus Christ Light of the Sky Church.

The U.S. Coast Guard  decided to call off the search and there are no plans to resume it, according to the Associated Press

The accident took place around 10 a.m. off Rancho Guadelupe Dunes Preserve. According to reports, a wave pulled three people into the ocean but only two managed to head back to shore on their own.

"A big wave came and took Benito,"  Pastor Cervantes, of Jesus Christ Light of the Sky, said in a television interview.

"I tried to take him out," the pastor explained. "He was heavy and then another big wave came."

David Sadecki, Fire Captain of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, explained that it would be difficult for anyone to survive more than 30 minutes in the cold water.

According to the Santa Maria Times, 25 people were at the baptism ceremony, which Pastor Cervantes said he performs about two or three times a year.

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