A Santa Barbara City Fire Department engine staged at Leadbetter Beach
A Santa Barbara City Fire Department engine is staged at Leadbetter Beach during a search offshore for two paddle-boarders. Both were later found safe. (Peter Hartmann / Noozhawk photo)

A search was conducted Sunday afternoon off the Mesa in Santa Barbara for two people who were feared to have been swept out to sea, but they eventually were found safe.

At about 3:30 p.m., the Santa Barbara City Fire Department received a report that two people had entered the water with boogie boards or paddle boards at Hendry’s Beach, officially known as Arroyo Burro Beach County Park, and were last seen moving in an easterly direction, fire Battalion Chief Robert Mercado told Noozhawk.

The individual who reported the incident tried to keep the pair in sight while traversing the beach below the Mesa, Mercado said, but lost track of them around Leadbetter Beach near the Santa Barbara Harbor.

He said two Harbor Patrol boats were conducting a grid search offshore, and were being aided in the search by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and a copter from Santa Barbara County.

At about 6 p.m., authorities determined that the two had purposefully set out from Hendry’s to Leadbetter on paddle boards, Mercado said.

They were never in danger, and both exited the water without incident — one at Thousand Steps and the other at Leadbetter Beach, he added.

There were gusty conditions in the county Sunday afternoon, especially offshore.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at tbolton@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.