A search for a teenager who drowned Off Mission Beach resumed Wednesday with a Coast Guard cutter and helicopter deployed along with lifeguards and police dive teams, officials said.
Lifeguards in boats and on jet skis sliced through the water north of Belmont Park late Wednesday morning as people gathered along the shore. About two dozen teenage friends and family comforted each other and stared out to sea, and long-stemmed roses were lined up along a large sand hill near a lifeguard tower.
Authorities have not released the victim’s name but have confirmed that he was 18 years old.
Two dives were scheduled just outside the surf line on Wednesday morning. Eighteen San Diego Fire-Rescue lifeguards aboard rescue ships and watercraft attended and used sonar equipment to assist with the dive search, said Fire Rescue Department spokeswoman Mónica Muñoz.
A Coast Guard helicopter searched early Wednesday without finding the teenager and scheduled another search at 5 p.m. A San Diego Fire Department helicopter is expected to assist in the afternoon.
Lifeguards rescued two other swimmers who were with the drowned teenager, but the victim went underwater around 3:30 p.m. and never surfaced. The incident happened in the water in front of Jersey Court, a few blocks north of Belmont Park and Mission Beach’s main parking lots, near lifeguard tower 16, Muñoz said.
A lifeguard watching the beach spotted a group of swimmers and, after noticing that one seemed to be struggling, called other lifeguards to get to the area for a possible rescue, according to Muñoz. Lifeguards pulled the other two teenagers out of the water, but the victim dove under and disappeared.
Lifeguards “immediately called for more resources to search the area,” including a fire department helicopter and lifeguards in the water, on personal watercraft, boats and surfboards, Muñoz said. After a 75-minute search, lifeguards deemed it “a recovery effort.”
The teenager’s name was not released.
Staff writer Teri Figueroa contributed to this report.