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Authorities Search For Missing 17-Year-Old Swimmer North Of Santa Cruz

SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF) – Authorities are searching for a teen who was last seen swimming near a beach north of Santa Cruz on Monday night.

The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office said 17-year-old Cash Ebright was body surfing near Laguna Creek Beach. Deputies, along with state parks officials, the California Highway Patrol and Cal Fire searched the area Monday after he was reported missing, but he was not found.

According to Cal Fire, the investigation has since been turned over to state parks and the sheriff's office.

Deputies said Tuesday that the search for Ebright has resumed Tuesday morning.

Cash Ebright
17-year-old Cash Ebright was last seen swimming near Laguna Creek Beach near Davenport on September 20, 2021. (Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office)

A photo of Ebright was released by the sheriff's office. He was reportedly wearing black swim trunks before he went missing.

This is the latest of several search and rescue missions over the last few weeks at beaches near Davenport, where people were either stuck by the changing tide, or swept away to sea.

Just last week, two people were swept away at Panther State Beach, just up the road from where Tuesday's rescue was focused. Authorities eventually found one body, the other man is still missing.

"I would say on the San Mateo - Santa Cruz County coast - probably about a half a dozen [incidents] a year. Usually in those timeframes between seasons when we have the different water dynamics and good weather," said David Cosgrave, the Operations Division Chief for Cal Fire San Mateo County.

Cosgrave explained there are several factors usually at play in these scenarios, including people swimming at beaches with no lifeguards, the changing dynamics of the ocean, and sometimes, whether or not the beach is a steep beach.

"If it's a steep access into the beach you can have underwater currents with the water coming in and out - it'll pull you in and keep you under," he said.

At Laguna Creek Beach, there are warning signs at the entrance explaining that exact phenomenon.

Cosgrave advises beachgoers to be extra cautious, especially when at a beach that is unguarded. He also said swimming is not advised at every beach.

"If they're unguarded, there's no support mechanism there for you to get help in a hurry," he said.

One other safety tool?

"It's good to know the name of the beach - the official name - so that if you do get in trouble you know where to call and direct resources, because it's hard to locate people a lot of the times when they go to these locations," Cosgrave said.

Max Darrow contributed to this story.

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