California

Teen gave a thumbs-up after falling into a hole on a CA ocean cliff. Then he vanished

18-year-old falls into hole off California cliff. He gave a thumbs-up — then vanished

An 18-year-old fell into the ocean through a blowhole on a Garrapata State Beach cliff in California on Saturday and vanished in the heavy surf, authorities say.
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An 18-year-old fell into the ocean through a blowhole on a Garrapata State Beach cliff in California on Saturday and vanished in the heavy surf, authorities say.

An 18-year-old man exploring rocky cliffs Saturday with friends at Garrapata State Beach in California scrambled over to a hole for a closer look — and fell in, Monterey sheriff’s officers wrote on Facebook.

He plunged to a sandy beach below, where he gave his friends overhead a thumbs-up, said Emily Rowan, a U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman, KSBW reported.

Then 14-foot ocean waves spaced 9 seconds apart washed over him, sheriff’s officers wrote. His friends ran to other visitors on the beach south of Carmel-by-the-Sea for help.

“He said, ‘Do you have cellphone service? Our friend fell into a hole between two rocks and we can’t get him out,’ ” said Ali Bowen, KION reported.

But emergency crews, lifeguards, and a Coast Guard boat and helicopter failed to find the man in a six-hour search Saturday, sheriff’s officials wrote on Facebook.

The search resumed Sunday with a drone while dive teams assessed the surf, but the 18-year-old remains missing, KSBW reported.

“It’s shocking how dangerous it can be out here,” resident Jared Sandman said, KION reported. “For people who don’t know the risks, it can be really how alarming. You can slip and fall and be in big trouble.”

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