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Man lost at sea while performing California beach baptism

Beach Baptism

(Reuters) - A man swept out to sea by seven-foot waves during an oceanside baptismal ceremony in California on Sunday remained missing a day later as hopes faded he would be found alive, officials said on Monday.

U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Adam Stanton said three men were initially washed away by the surf while performing the religious ceremony, held on the shore of the Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve in the small Santa Barbara County city of Guadalupe.

Two of the men were able swim back to shore without injuries, but the third man, whom authorities have not named, was still lost on Monday afternoon, according to a statement by the Santa Barbara Fire Department.

The missing man had been helping to perform a baptism in association with the Jesus Christ Light of the Sky church, which holds similar events two or three times a year, according to local newspaper the Santa Maria Times.

Some 25 people, mostly Spanish-speaking, attended the event, the paper said.

Pastor Maurigro Cervantes told Fox News-affiliate KCOY TV that he was one of the three men conducting the baptism when big waves began to roll in and pulled his cousin out to sea.

"I tried to take him ... but he was heavy and then another big wave come and took him," Cervantes said.

Search helicopters and boats joined in the rescue effort for the missing man all day on Sunday, Santa Barbara Fire Department Captain David Sadecki said.

By Monday afternoon, the Coast Guard had called off its air search without finding the man. Local officials with rescue watercraft remained in the area, Sadecki said.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Steve Orlofsky)

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PRAISE GOD! March 31 2014 at 11:31 PM


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slvbrennes March 31 2014 at 11:33 PM

Whoa, it's like the god's swooped down and claimed his soul. Far out. Poor guy.

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Dr. Cal Harris March 31 2014 at 11:10 PM

Very tragic. I hope they find him alive.

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ChingOW Mango April 01 2014 at 12:13 AM

Very sad and very stupid. Pacific may mean "peaceful" but take a look - those waves are bashing in - there is such a thing as ''under tow'' - the water is cold - just not a smart move all way round. Isn't there something in the church that could be used? If not wouldn't a lake or pond be a lot safer. Too late now - that poor man is gone - but maybe next time?

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dtarheel936 March 31 2014 at 11:04 PM

Holy wave! God calling him home or not, I cannot think of a more terrible way
to die....in addition to a few other ways. That poor family. It's so sudden. Perfect example of
"here today, gone tomorrow". Jeez

Flag Reply +3 rate up
rude March 31 2014 at 10:52 PM

Where's that darn Ark when you need it??

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2 replies
Karen rude March 31 2014 at 11:35 PM

Russell Crowe has been using it and doesn't want to give it back.

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Lori Paszek rude April 01 2014 at 12:42 AM


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Karmen March 31 2014 at 10:26 PM

What a great way to go to die. I mean you have handed your life to the lord and at that moment, just like that he calls you. He repented all his sins and God took him into his arms. Beautiful way to die I say. He died with God.

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5 replies
MR. RD HOUSTON March 31 2014 at 11:28 PM

god has a plan,, sometimes not what we want or need god bless this church and family
i'm so sorry

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maxthesuperdog March 31 2014 at 11:43 PM

He was lost before his feet hit the water.

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Gigi March 31 2014 at 11:46 PM

Why didnt' the minister jump him to save him?

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