Coast Guard crews suspended their search Thursday afternoon for a 14-year-old boy swept to sea off San Francisco's Ocean Beach, after nearly 24 hours of looking for him in the Pacific Ocean.
Crews had targeted efforts in an area that was 64 square miles between the Golden Gate Bridge and Lake Merced, with authorities scouring both shoreline and water for the teen. But they suspended their search about 1 p.m.
"It's heartbreaking," San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said from the beach Thursday morning during the height of the search, noting that she had talked with the teen's mother. "I'm a mom, too. I can only imagine what she's going through. Her husband is fighting for his life, and she has a son that's missing. That's really, really tough."
The search first began Wednesday when a rip current pulled the 14-year-old identified as Marco Cornejo and his cousin into the water just before 4 p.m. The father of one of the boys rushed in to try and save them, even though he cannot swim.
Tony Barbero, a 17-year-old surfer and the son of a San Francisco fire captain, saw the three in the water, and paddled out to rescue them. He was able to save the father and one of the cousins, but not Marco, who lives in the East Bay.
The father was transported to the hospital after being resuscitated by first responders, but according to Hayes-White is "fighting for his life." His nephew is said to be in good condition.
Ocean Beach is known for being one of the most dangerous shorelines in the country. Battalion Chief Marty Ross said “this happens too much.”
“People, they come out here, they take this for granted,” Ross said. “This is very dangerous out here. It’s no joke.”
San Francisco Fire Capt. Joe Barbero hugs his son, Tony, 17, who rescued a father and nephew at sea. April 9, 2014.