Santa Barbara- S County

Man Swept Out to Sea During Beach Baptism

Guadalupe Search and Rescue Efforts

GUADALUPE, Calif. - A Santa Maria family is waiting for an answer from several search and rescue teams who responded to a possible drowning at the Guadalupe beach Sunday morning.

The Guadalupe Dunes Preserve was closed to the public on Sunday from 10am to around 3pm.

A man was washed away from the shore just as soon as he was finishing up assisting with a baptism at the beach.

Pastor Maurigro Cervantes was in the water with two others,  he was baptizing a man his mid 20s while his cousin was assisting.

Cervantes said "A  big wave came and took Benito, I  tried to take him out,  he was heavy and then another big wave came."

The second wave pulled his cousin from the shore. Cervantes identified the victim, his cousin, as Benito Flores a 43-year-old Santa Maria man.

Santa Barbara County Battalion Chief Diondray Wiley, said  "There were three people  initially, two were able to self  rescue and the one, is the one that's unaccounted for."

Wiley said  "We gridded from Oso Flaco to Guadalupe beach and further south. The coast guard followed the current to do our searches."

Family and friends of the victim are waiting. 

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