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Thursday, January 17 , 2019, 1:00 am | Overcast 59º


Search Suspended for Fall Victim at Point Sal State Beach Near Vandenberg Air Force Base

With darkness nearing Sunday evening, emergency crews from multiple agencies suspended the search for a man who fell into the ocean near Point Sal State Beach in northern Santa Barbara County.

The incident was reported about 4:45 p.m.

The missing man fell off a hiking trail in the area, which is known for sandy cliffs and a rocky shoreline, according to Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni.

Crews from Vandenberg Air Force Base, the U.S. Coast Guard, a Santa Barbara County water-rescue team, the sheriff’s Search & Rescue Team and the Guadalupe Fire Department also responded to the incident.

A county helicopter was searching from overhead, with California Highway Patrol and Coast Guard helicopters joining the effort.

The victim, a 32-year-old man whose name has not been released, reportedly was wearing a white shirt and blue shorts, and heading south toward Minuteman Beach at Vandenberg, according to emergency radio traffic.

The Coast Guard issued an advisory to mariners to look for the missing man, who was last seen at about 4:15 p.m.

Firefighters used personal watercraft to search the ocean for the missing man.

Other searchers stood on a hill overlooking the coastline and directed aircraft and watercraft crews to check possible sightings in the foamy seas. Those efforts were not successful by the time commanders called off the search for the night.

As dusk neared, the aircraft ended their searches, Zaniboni said.

Two Coast Guard vessels were expected to remain in the area overnight, with the aerial search to resume Monday morning.

Point Sal State Beach is just north of the VAFB boundary, but vehicles no longer can access the area via the county road due to a washout 15 years ago.

Some of the emergency crews were accessing the area via VAFB’s main gate.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully 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.

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