San Diego

Swimmer, 17, Missing in Ocean Off Mission Beach

Two dozen San Diego lifeguards will be diving and using a boat and personal watercraft to search the waters near shore.

The search for a teenager last seen swimming in the ocean off Mission Beach has moved to a recovery effort, San Diego lifeguards confirmed Monday. 

Lifeguards and divers began searching for a missing 17-year-old male swimmer near Windemere Court and Ocean Front Walk at approximately 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

The teenager was one of five people who went to the beach Sunday. Three people went into the water. Two were rescued after being caught in a rip current earlier in the day, lifeguards said.

The rescued swimmers told lifeguards the 17-year-old might still be in the water. He was last seen in waist-deep water.

Coast Guard Cutter Petrel, an 87-foot patrol boat, searched throughout the night Sunday, U.S. Coast Guard officials said.

At approximately 1 p.m. Monday, the Coast Guard suspended their own search for the teen. 

"Our thoughts go out to the family of the missing swimmer during this extremely difficult time," said Lt. Andrew Williams, Sector San Diego command duty officer. "Suspending a search is not an easy decision and it is made with great care and consideration."

But lifeguards will continue to search until the evening.

The crew of an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter also searched from the sky Sunday night. USCG officials said a second helicopter crew joined the search efforts Monday.

As of 10 a.m. Monday, divers worked in recovery mode, San Diego Fire-Rescue Capt. James Gartland said.

Visibility was low (2 to 5 feet) and the current is strong, Gartland said.

Two dozen San Diego lifeguards were involved in Monday's search. They will be pairing up to search the area where the rip current lets out, Gartland said.

A boat and personal watercraft was also searching the area.

They will be using side sonar to project an image of the bottom of the ocean, no more than 300 yards from shore.

San Diego police interviewed the four teens in the group and are communicating with their parents.

Officials said Monday the missing teenager is Syrian and living in El Cajon, California.

Ed. Note: This story previously reported the rescue was in La Jolla. We have corrected the article and regret the error.

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