A Southern California teen who drowned Saturday was trying to save two friends from a dangerous rip current when he was swept out to sea, witnesses said.
Eighteen-year-old Pomona resident Paul Alimoren was on a beach trip in the state of Washington when he and seven other members of a church group were caught in a rip current while swimming in Ocean Shores around 8 p.m.
Witnesses said Alimoren helped two of his friends to shore before being swept out again. He was last seen around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, about a half a mile south of where he first entered the water, police said.
Emergency crews searched the area for several hours Saturday and Sunday, but were not able to find Alimoren. As of Sunday afternoon, Alimoren was declared dead and the rescue effort has now become a recovery effort, according to the Facebook page of Philip Alimoren, Paul Alimoren’s brother.
"On behalf of my family, I thank you for your prayers and thoughts concerning this trying time," Philip Alimoren said in a Facebook post. "My brother has touched lives, and I can say that he died serving His Savior on the mission field."
As of Monday evening, the body of Paul Alimoren had not been recovered.
According to Paul Alimoren’s Facebook page, he began studying at Cal State Fullerton last August.
Ocean Shores is approximately 130 miles from Seattle. According to Ocean Shores Police, it had been a few years since there was a drowning in the area.
Ryan Bourgard contributed to this report.