San Diego

Family Pleading for Son's Safe Return After He was Swept to Sea

Family of seven are Syrian refugees living in El Cajon

A local family is pleading for the safe return of their only son, currently being searched for in the waters off Mission Beach.

Mohammed Mostafa, 17, is thought to have been swept away by strong rip currents Sunday evening.

Mohammed and his family are refugees from Syria. His family fled the country, trying to escape the violence almost three months ago.

Mohammed's father told NBC 7 Monday night, his son is a student at El Cajon Valley High School and has four sisters. They moved to El Cajon from Syria in January hoping for a new life--one without violence and turmoil.

"I just asked for a safe place for my family as well," said Mohammed’s father, Husan.

Mohammed and four other friends came to the beach Sunday evening. He, along with two friends, went into waist-deep water. Those two had to be rescued by lifeguards after powerful rip currents.

"There's a very strong relationship between them and they're very upset with what's happened to Mohammed right now," said Husan.

Crews searched for hours Sunday night, and again on Monday, but there's still no sign of Mohammed.  

His family spoke to NBC 7 and shared photos of Mohammed in hopes of getting the public's help with locating their son.

"I just care about my Mohammed to be back with his mom and his dad and his family. That's all I'm thinking about," said Mohammed’s father, Husan.

Around 1 p.m. Monday, the Coast Guard suspended their search. San Diego Lifeguards continue the search Tuesday morning.

But this is now considered a recovery, instead of a rescue effort.

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