A California beach baptism went terribly awry Sunday morning after a wave apparently ripped a man from shore and dragged him deep into volatile waters.
Benito Flores, 43, went missing while assisting with the Christian ritual at Guadalupe Beach in Guadalupe, Calif., part of Santa Barbara County, KEYT-TV reported.
Flores was reportedly assisting his cousin, Pastor Maurigro Cervantes of Jesus Christ Light of the Sky church, with the baptism of a young man when large waves put all three participants in jeopardy.
While Cervantes and the unidentified individual being baptized were able to save themselves, Flores was not so lucky.
“A big wave came and took Benito,” Cervantes told media. “I tried to take him out. He was heavy and then another big wave came.”
There were reportedly about 25 people in attendance at the event when the incident happened. Cervantes told California’s Santa Maria Times that the church performs two or three baptism ceremonies each year.
The Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve was closed following the incident from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday as authorities searched for Flores; the search was expected to continue Monday.
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