REDONDO BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Searchers Saturday recovered the body of a missing 21-year-old swimmer amid higher-than-normal surf along the coastline.
The swimmer, identified by relatives as Marlon Fajardo, disappeared in the ocean near the Knob Hill Lifeguard Tower just before 4 a.m.
Just after 10:06 a.m., CBS2’s Joy Benedict reported that a body matching the description of Fajardo was pulled from the water, and the search was called off.
Fajardo’s family told Benedict that they are sad but relieved for the closure.
It was “not a happy ending but good to know they found him,” said his grandmother, Louise Bernardez, who wanted people to remember her grandson “as a happy young man.”
Fajardo, who had been described as a “poor swimmer,“ was shirtless and wore maroon shorts when he went missing.
“I don’t know what the cause was to come to the beach with his friends, but who knows,” said Bernardez. “You was young before; sometimes you do stupid things.”
Batt. Chief Rob Rappaport of the Los Angeles County Fire Department said he had been with friends and family at the time, who contacted authorities.
“Once they found out that he wasn’t right next to them, he is reported to be a poor swimmer, he may have gotten out a little farther as what he could control as far as the level of water,” Rappaport said. “As soon as they found that he wasn’t around, then they started yelling for help and called 911.”
Several law enforcement agencies and first responders, including the U.S. Coast Guard, were dispatched to the search. A dive team and a sheriff’s department helicopter also assisted, reported Benedict.
Fajardo was eventually found in about 20 feet of water 50 yard south and 100 yards west of where he was last seen, Rappaport said.
The high waves were the result of Hurricane Norbert, which was expected to bring in sets topping seven to ten feet at some beaches this weekend.
“At this particular beach, being a west-facing beach, we are looking at one to three foot surf which is not that high for the conditions elsewhere are higher,” said Chief Christine Linkletter of the Los
Angeles County Fire Department in the 8 o’clock hour.