Last Updated Mar 31, 2014 1:55 PM EDT
GUADALUPE, Calif. - Rescuers unsuccessfully scoured the waters off a Central Coast beach Sunday after three people were swept to sea during a baptism ceremony, and only two managed to return to shore on their own, authorities said.
The U.S. Coast Guard says the search was called off about midnight Sunday for the 43-year-old man who went missing, and there are no plans to resume it.All three were swept away from the Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve, west of the small town of Guadalupe, Santa Barbara County Fire Battalion Chief Diondray Wiley said.
The pastor of a Santa Maria church told KCOY-TV his cousin, Benito Flores, was helping him baptize a man when a rogue wave pulled him into the ocean.
Pastor Maurigro Cervantes of Jesus Christ Light of the Sky said he tried to grab his cousin, but a second big wave took him.
Rescue crews from several local fire departments along with a U.S. Coast Guard boat had participated in the missing man.