During an ocean-side baptismal ceremony in California, a man was swept out to sea by two-metre high waves – hopes fade he would be found alive.
US Coast Guard spokesman Adam Stanton said three men were initially washed away by the surf while performing the religious ceremony, held on the shore of the Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve in the small Santa Barbara County city of Guadalupe.
Two of the men were able swim back to shore without injuries, but the third man, whom authorities have not named, was still lost on Monday afternoon, according to a statement by the Santa Barbara Fire Department.
The missing man had been helping to perform a baptism in association with the Jesus Christ Light of the Sky church, which holds similar events two or three times a year, according to local newspaper the Santa Maria Times.
Some 25 people, mostly Spanish-speaking, attended the event, the paper said.
Pastor Maurigro Cervantes told Fox News-affiliate KCOY TV that he was one of the three men conducting the baptism when big waves began to roll in and pulled his cousin out to sea.
“I tried to take him but he was heavy and then another big wave came and took him,” Cervantes said.