Friday, December 9 , 2016, 10:40 am | Fog/Mist 59º


Local News

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.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

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 through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >