LAGUNA BEACH (CBSLA.com) — A search for a swimmer last seen going under water amid heavy surf in Laguna Beach resumed Monday morning.
Anthony Parnell, 18, of Las Vegas, was at the beach with three friends Sunday afternoon. He was last seen shirtless and wearing black shorts in the water off Thousand Steps Beach about 1:35 p.m. Sunday, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi said.
Lifeguards searched for him until dark in boats as sheriff’s and OCFA helicopter crews searched from the air. The search also involved ground-based Laguna Beach and OCFA firefighters.
Monday’s search continues in the dangerous territory south of Thousand Steps beach on land and in the water, said Jason Young, chief of the lifeguards. The rocky landscape offers limited access along the coast line and lifeguards have had to navigate a “very dangerous section of coast line” in the search.
The search will continue throughout the day.
A surf that is 5 to 8 feet was also hindering searchers, Young said.
The man’s family was summoned to Laguna Beach from Nevada, according to Concialdi, who said volunteers provided grief counseling to the victim’s friends.
The teen’s parents — Jennifer and Foster Parnell — issued the following statement:
“Anthony was a wonderful human being. He was caring and very passionate. He loved his family and was incredibly close to his brothers. He loved football, music and art. He was a wonderful athlete and he was looking forward to joining the military like his two older brothers. He had already signed up with the U.S. Army. He loved to lie by the pool and he loved to cook. He respected his Centennial High coaches and he looked up to all of them.
In this very difficult time we ask that everyone respect our family and its privacy. Everyone out here (is) working very hard and we are so thankful for all of them, the fire department, the lifeguards, the Laguna Beach Police Department and the TIP (Trauma Intervention Program) volunteers.”
There were nine drowning deaths at Orange County beaches in 2014, Concialdi said.
“All avoidable,” he said. “If (there are) treacherous waters, just look at them from a safe distance.”
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