Man Swept Out to Sea During Baptism Feared Dead

Three men were dragged out to sea during a baptism, but only two made it back to shore

A Southern California man was feared dead by search and rescue teams who failed to locate him after he was swept out to sea during a baptism ceremony Saturday morning.

The search for the missing 43-year-old man was called off about midnight on Monday by the United States Coast Guard after they determined the search area near the Guadalupe Dunes, south of Pismo Beach, had been exhausted.

Three people were dragged out to sea at the conclusion of the baptismal ceremony, according to a statement released by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

Pastor Maurigo Cervantes from the Jesus Christ Light of the Sky church in Santa Maria along with the person being baptised made it back to shore.

It wasn't immediately clear what caused the three men to get pulled into the ocean, said US Coast Guard spokesman Adam Eggers.

Eggers stressed that there are always dangers involved when people go into the water.

"The ocean is always going to be stronger than a human being," he said.

Multiple agencies throughout the weekend tried to find the man.

Rescuers considered the man's height, weight and whether or not he had a life jacket as they searched for him.

"We had nine hours survival time on it and we searched almost 13 hours," Eggers said.

The search effort will remain suspended unless more information comes to light.

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