Los Angeles County Lifeguard divers conduct a search of the cave where the missing youth was last seen. Photo by Kevin Cody
A 19-year-old Long Beach man who disappeared underwater in a cave at Inspiration Point, on the east end of Sacred Cove in Palos Verdes Wednesday afternoon was still missing Wednesday evening, according to Los Angeles County Fire Department public information officer Scott Miller, who was at the scene. The man’s name were not released.
KTLA reported that a friend tried to rescue the man, but was unsuccessful.
“That’s my friend, what else was I supposed to do, just watch,” the teenage friend told KTLA.
Rescue boats from the Long Beach Fire Department, Los Angeles County Lifeguards Department and the U.S. Coast Coast guard participated in the search for the missing swimmer. Photo by Kevin Cody
Los Angeles County Lifeguard and Fire Department divers were searching the cave while Coast Guard, Lifeguard, Fire Department, Long Beach Fire and Sheriff’s rescue boats searched the ocean near the cave, Miller said. A Coast Guard and a Sheriff’s helicopter were also assisting in the search.
The multi-agency response followed a 911 call received at 2:57 p.m. Wednesday. The lifeguard rescue boat Baywatch arrived at the scene at 3:03 p.m., according to Miller.
Richard Thomas, 72, of San Pedro, called 911 when he heard the boy calling for help. It was his second 911 call from Sacred Cove in two days.
Frank Thomas, 72, owner of a San Pedro dump truck company, said he made the 911 call.
“I was doing my daily exercise on the beach at Sacred Cove when I heard the boys yelling that their friends were stuck in the cave. I grabbed one of their phones and called 911. Then we saw the lifeguard boat off Abalone Cove. So we started waving and the boat raced over.”
Rescuers gather on a rock reef at Inspiration Point.
Abalone Cove is immediately west of Sacred Cove.
“One of the boys got out. We could hear the other boy yelling, ‘I’m hanging on.’ Ed Butz, the Abalone Cove lifeguard, jumped off the boat and swam into the cave, but couldn’t the find the boy,’” Thomas said.
Rescue divers continued searching for the boy through the evening.
A Los Angeles County Sheriff questions friends of the missing youth.
The cave at Inspiration Point has become popular with teenagers through Instagram and other social media.
According to Abalone Cove resident Michael Cristillo, the cave recedes approximately 50 feet into the cliff. Above the cave entrance is a ledge about 15 feet over the water. Jumpers can be carried by the ocean surge in and out of the cave.
Cristillo said the surge in the area has been particularly strong over the past several days.
A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter searches the coastline beneath Terranea Resort.
Thomas said that he also made a 911 call on Tuesday after seeing a teenage swimmer struggling offshore at Sacred Cove. Abalone Cove lifeguard Butz also responded to that call, and rescued the teen.
On Sunday, two men visiting Sacred Cove rescued a teenage boy who had fallen into the water in front of the Inspiration Point Cave. The boy was unconscious when they brought him ashore, but the adults revived him with CPR. After lifeguards arrived and stabilized the teen, he was airlifted to a hospital. ER