Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


Man Missing After Being Swept Away By Waves During Baptism

LAist relies on your reader support, not paywalls.
Freely accessible local news is vital. Please power our reporters and help keep us independent with a donation today.

A 43-year-old man went missing on Sunday after he was swept away by waves during a baptism off the coast in Santa Barbara County.

Benito Flores was at Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve around 10 a.m. helping a pastor perform the ceremony for Flores' cousin, who is in his mid 20s, according to KCOY. That's when a wave swept Flores and two other people in the waters.

“A big wave came and took Benito," Pastor Maurigro Cervantes of the Jesus Christ Light of the Sky church told KCOY. "I tried to take him out, he was heavy and then another big wave came.”

The second wave dragged Flores into the water. The other two were able to get back to shore, but Flores remained missing. Santa Barbara fire crews, water and search rescue teams helped search for the man, but still were unable to find him by Sunday night, according to the Santa Maria Times.

Support for LAist comes from

Cervantes told the Santa Maria Times that he performs these baptism ceremonies about two to three times a year. There were about 25 people at the preserve with them.