A father drowned trying to save his two small children, who got swept up by the rip current at a California beach over the weekend and are still missing, according to news reports.
The 40-year-old dad jumped into the water at Blind Beach in Sonoma County on Sunday afternoon after his 4-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter — who were playing too close to the water — were pulled in by the large waves, officials told KRON 4.
“They were both his kids — a 4-year-old and a 6-year-old — apparently he grabbed onto the 4-year-old and was trying to pull him in and apparently got swept out further,” Sonoma County Sheriff Lt. Michael Raasch told the station. “The two kids got swept out to sea and the father ended up drowning.”
The father’s body was pulled from the ocean around 2:30 p.m., authorities said.
Meanwhile, the two children are still missing and presumed dead.
“When the cavalry got here, we were searching for the kids and we found a pair of shoes washed up, a jacket, but no signs of the kids,” Raasch said. “We looked for hours and that’s where we stand right now.”
A high surf advisory is in place along the coast, lasting through Tuesday afternoon, KPIX 5 reported.
Dangerous sneaker waves and strong rip currents, swelling up to 24 feet, are possible, forecasters warned.
“Very rough seas, very active right now,” Raasch said. “The waves are very treacherous, even very strong swimmers would have trouble getting out of the water.”
The family had recently moved to Sonoma County from out of state, he said.