SANTA MONICA—A search is underway for a swimmer that went missing on Tuesday, March 12 near the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica. The identification of the missing swimmer has been unconfirmed and no contacts and missing persons report has been filed.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Lifeguard Division, Los Angeles County Sherriff Department, U.S. Coast Guard, Santa Monica Fire Deptartment, and Santa Monica Police Department all arrived to the scene after receiving a report of a swimmer in distress at Lifeguard Tower 8.
Kenichi Haskett Lifeguard Section Chief told Canyon News the search began Tuesday, March 12 at approximately 11:10 a.m. The description from the ocean lifeguard and the bystanders on the beach said the missing person appeared to be an adult male with dark hair, in his 20-30s and possibly Caucasian.
The swimmer was approximately 75-100 yards off shore when the ocean lifeguard swam out to rescue him. LAFD officials said the swimmer had submerged by the time rescuers reached them. Rescuers are searching the last known position of the swimmer.
The Ocean Lifeguard Specialist stationed at Tower 8 told Haskett the missing man did not appear to be calling out for help, but while he was backstroking back to shore 200 yards away he appeared to be struggling.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deployed a dive team, boats and air rescue units. The USCG and county lifeguards continue searching. Dive operations continued in the morning on Wednesday and Thursday.
Tuesday rescue efforts concluded around 2:20 p.m. due to high winds and rough seas. LAPD officials said: “These conditions for subsurface search are hazardous and ineffective.” The LAFD marine technical search team remained near the scene to scan the area with specialized sonar equipment.
Haskett encourages people visiting beaches during spring break to check in with a lifeguard and/or follow Lifeguard Division’s Official Twitter (@ LACoLifeguards) for current ocean conditions.
“Swim in front of an open lifeguard, and let someone know (family, a friend, or us) that you are going for a long swim,” said Haskett.