San Diego

American Surfer Vanishes While Camping on Cliff in Mexico: Friends

An American surfer vanished overnight after stepping out from his tent on a cliff near Chuie's Surf Camp in Mexico, leading friends to believe he fell in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

San Diego resident Scott Robert Fippinger, 20, was camping cliff-side with three friends in Rosarito just south of Tijuana in Mexico near the 52 kilometer marker.

Around 3:00 a.m., his friends reported hearing him wake up to urinate. They heard him leave the tent and saw the light of his cell phone.

High tide that morning peaked at 3:38 a.m. and waves reached up to the base of the cliff.

His friends did not realize he was missing until they woke up after sunrise and discovered he was gone. They found his broken cell phone on the concrete slab between the tent and the cliff’s edge around 7:00 a.m.

When the high tide receded, no evidence or marks could be found on the beach below.

Units from the Mexican Naval base in Ensenada were called to help with the search and lifeguards from the Salvavidas division of the Bomberos de Rosarito have also been helping with the search as they sweep along the six kilometer stretch of coastline between El Campito and Camp Lopez.

The site of Fippinger’s disappearance, Chuie’s Surf Camp, is located just south of El Campito, near the popular American restaurant Splash.

Fippinger’s mother and father crossed the border the day he was reported missing to help with the search for their missing son and have remained in the area to raise awareness in hopes of finding him. The family is looking for the public’s help in finding their son.

“My wife and I only have two sets of eyes,” said Eric Fippinger, the missing man’s father. “We really need our friends in Baja to help us find our son.”

Similar past cases in the same area saw drowning victims resurface five to seven days after disappearing. Current ocean conditions indicate that the body of the missing surfer will be pushed toward the coastline between Medio Camino and the port of La Salina sometime in the next two weeks.

If you think you know something about the incident, call the San Diego Police Department's non-emergency number at (619) 531-2000 or call NBC 7 San Diego at (619) 578-0201.

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