Pixel Tracker

Wednesday, December 12 , 2018, 2:03 am | Fair 45º


Reports of Body in Surf Off Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Park Prove Unfounded

Authorities say the potential discovery was in an area where a man was swept out to sea following a baptism Sunday

Authorities say numerous reports of a body found in the surf line about two miles north of Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Park Monday morning were a “false alarm,” and no body has been found, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The potential discovery was in an area where a man was swept out to sea following a baptism Sunday morning.

A Vandenberg Fire Department water-rescue team assisted in the search, along with Cal Fire San Luis Obispo, the Guadalupe Fire Department and a county water rescue team, Capt. David Sadecki said.

A Santa Barbara County helicopter and a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter — carrying firefighter and rescue swimmers — searched in the area for an hour, finding nothing, Sadecki said.

Authorities believe witnesses mistook fishing buoys for a body, he said.

"The search by air has been suspended," Sadecki said. "The initial reports we got turned out to be a false alarm."

Possible discovery of a body comes a day after county fire responded to report of a water rescue at the park when three people were swept into the ocean at the conclusion of a baptism ceremony around 10 a.m., Sadecki said.

Authorities haven't released the name of the missing man, but he's been identified as Benito Flores, 43, a lifetime member of Santa Maria's Jesus Christ Light in the Sky church, which regularly performs baptisms in that area of beach, according to KEYT.

Two people were rescued and uninjured, but the third person was still unaccounted for when water rescue teams and several other agencies discontinued the search at 2:30 p.m., he said.

U.S. Coast Guard continued searching until midnight.

County fire suspended its search efforts late Monday morning, while Coast Guard and a California State Parks water rescue team with personal water crafts remained on scene.

Check back with Noozhawk for more details.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.