California man washed out to sea during baptism

A man holds his young child on a the breakwater of Santa Barbara Harbor, 1 March 2014 Officials warned the surf near the area can be dangerous

A California man remains missing a day after he was swept out to sea during an ocean baptism.

Benito Flores, 43, was among several people helping his cousin, Pastor Maurigro Cervantes, baptise a man near the Guadalupe Dunes Preserve north of Santa Barbara.

Two others were swept out by a huge wave but were able to swim to shore.

The US Coast Guard says the search for Mr Flores was called off at midnight on Sunday.

The baptism was just finishing up at 10:00 local time (17:00 GMT) on Sunday when the church members were hit by the wave.

"A big wave came and took Benito," Mr Cervantes told local broadcaster KEYT. "I tried to take him out, he was heavy and then another big wave came."

The US Coast Guard as well as local rescue officials were involved in the search but there are no plans to resume it.

Santa Barbara Fire Captain David Sadecki said it would be difficult for anyone to survive more than 30 minutes in the cold water.

Mr Cervantes, who leads the Jesus Christ Light of the Sky church in Santa Maria, said his church performed such ceremonies two or three times a year, according to the Santa Maria Times.

More on This Story

More US & Canada stories



  • NS Savannah, 1962Nuclear dream

    The ship that totally failed to change the world

  • Espresso cup7 days quiz

    Which city serves the strongest cup of coffee?

  • Glasgow 2014 quaichs and medalsQuaich guide

    What do the Scottish gifts given to Games medallists symbolise?

  • Malaysian plane wreckage in UkraineFlight risk

    How odd is it for three planes to crash in eight days?

  • israel flagDos and don'ts

    Can you criticise Israel without being anti-Semitic?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.