Officials scaled back a search Saturday night for a 60-year-old swimmer who went missing off the coast of Dana Point as high tides and strong rip currents hit Southern California.
After a 7-hour search that included snorkel teams, a helicopter and a ground crew from multiple agencies, there was still no sign of the missing man, officials said. After about an hour and a half of trying to find the man, the rescue turned into a recovery operation, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said.
The U.S. Coast Guard planned to keep a boat searching near shore overnight. A more robust operation was expected to resume Sunday morning.
The man was reported missing about 11:30 a.m. off Tower 2 at Salt Creek Beach, the Sheriff’s Department said.
Officials said the man was swimming with another person when he dove under a wave and did not surface.
A ground search confirmed that the swimmer did not make it out of the water, officials said.
The swimmer's family declined to comment.
The search came during a period of high surf in Orange County. Waves between 4- and 7-feet were expected through Sunday. Lifeguards warned beachgoers of the dangerous conditions.
"We have very strong currents and very strong shorebreak, which is where the waves break in very shallow water with a lot of force," said OC Lifeguards Chief Jason Young. "There’s potential for injury, and due to the current anyone who is not a strong swimmer is at risk of being swept off their feet."
Orange County lifeguards made 178 rescues Saturday, officials said.
Andrew Lopez contributed to this report.