San Diego Fire-Rescue Lifeguards have suspended a search for a surfer that witnesses say was carried away from shore by the current.
Lifeguards responded to 911 calls made by bystanders who heard two surfers in the water below Sunset Cliffs screaming for help after the sun went down.
One of the surfers was made it back to shore safely but witnesses never saw the second return, prompting them to call 911.
Lifeguards searched for the second surfer for more than an hour and decided to suspend the search at around 7 p.m., saying they felt confident that no one else was in the water. They also said that they had no official reports of a missing person.
During the search, Lifeguards reported that they were trying to determine if the second surfer was actually a swimmer who entered the water to try and help the surfer. They say the second person may have swam off in a different direction and got back to land at a different point along the shore.
The surfer who made it back to shore safely told SDFD that he did not know the second person.
Two witnesses told NBC 7 that they saw a surfer get carried further and further away from the shore by the current until they disappeared.
Ben Martus was watching the sunset but kept his eyes on the surfers after seeing them both struggle amid powerful breaking waves.
"I never saw him come back in," Martus said of the second surfer. "He just kept getting beat by waves. He wasn't duck diving, he missed a bunch of waves that he could've rode in and then I lost sight of him after it got dark and he just never came in."
"We saw them struggling out in the water, probably mid surf -- they separated and I could see one guy who came in but we lost sight of the other guy," another witness, Dylan Osmonson, said. "From the screams and everything it instantly made us call 911 and try and get some help out here."
United States Coast Guard Crews are expected to search by air and sea through the night.
No other information was available.
The National Weather Service issued a High Surf Advisory for the San Diego area Tuesday that will last until 8 p.m. Saturday. Wave sets for the day were forecasted up to 13 feet.
The Ocean Beach Pier was temporarily closed Tuesday as a result of the high surf, and waves that reached the deck of the pier caused some damage to the structure.
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