Missing Swimmer May Be Victim of High Surf

His mother says the 24-year-old missing man is a good swimmer, but he disappeared Wednesday amid high surf

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Gayle Binford returned to the beach early Thursday after her son went missing Wednesday night.

    A missing swimmer's mother returned to Sunset Beach Thursday to wait for word regarding her son.

    Gayle Binford, was at the beach early Thursday. She first arrived at the beach with other family members and friends at about 9:15 p.m. Wednesday and stayed until around 1 a.m.

    High Surf May Have Claimed Missing Swimmer

    [LA] High Surf May Have Claimed Missing Swimmer
    A swimmer, missing at Sunset Beach, may have a victim of the high surf expected for the next several days.

    "It was kind of dark, and we didn't see anything  yesterday," she said. "He's a good swimmer, but he never should have been left alone. He and his three friends came together."

    She said she has not heard from the people who were with her son.

    Search crews also are expected to return to the Sunset Beach area Thursday. With the sun quickly setting, rescuers didn't have much time to search for the swimmer Wednesday night.

    Jowayne Binford was reported missing late Wednesday near Sunset Beach. Binford said search crews were expected to arrive mid-morning.

    A rescue effort was quickly launched Wednesday with three patrol boats, two jet skis, a helicopter and more than 20 lifeguards from the City of Seal Beach.

    "He was on a body board and the body board washed ashore," said Marine Safety Chief Joe Bailey. "It's a bad sign."

    The 24year-old missing man's friends looked on as the search continued into darkness.

    Mike Spainhower said he heard a lifeguard warn the four men to stay close to shore.

    "They were about 20 yards offshore, but they actually came in after the warning, " said Spainhower. "But the young man they're looking for stayed in the water, but very shallow, maybe knee deep."

    Strong swells and rip currents are hammering south facing beaches in Southern California, making for dangerous swimming conditions...and causing flooding near Balboa Pier in Newport Beach.

    "All of a sudden you heard boom," said resident Bridget Ross.

    When high tide hit just before Noon, the Balboa Pier parking lots were flooded. And, this isn't the highest surf that's expected. Bailey issued a warning. 

    "This weekend there's going to be huge waves at the Wedge in Newport Beach," he said. "If you're not an expert, don't go near that place. Swim near a lifeguard, swim with a buddy, ask a lifeguard where the safe spot to swim is." 

    The big waves are the result of a winter storm off New Zealand. The National Weather Service has issued a high surf advisory for beaches and shoreline from San Luis Obispo to San Diego counties, warning of surf averaging 7 feet to 9 feet.

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