SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (AP) — The search for a 21-year-old who went missing while swimming off on a rugged section of San Luis Obispo County coastline will continue after high surf subsides, sheriff’s officials said.
A dive team, a search and rescue team and helicopters have scoured the coastline near Spooner’s Cove for 21-year-old Stefan Wagner since he went missing Thursday. Now he is presumed dead and searchers hope to recover his body, Sgt. Steve Odom said.
The San Luis Obispo Tribune reports that Wagner, a former water polo player from Fresno, swam into dangerous waters at the cove in Montana de Oro State Park, where the ocean is lined with rocky outcroppings and cliffs.
Park ranger Lisa Remington says Wagner was with friends at the cove Thursday afternoon when he swam out and dove under water. Friends who tried to get him out of the water called 911 about a swimmer in distress at 4:43 p.m.
Wagner’s father, Bryan Wagner, told the Tribune that his son was a body surfer who loved the ocean.
Wagner’s grandfather, Jim Wagner, used to dive for abalone and lobster in San Pedro, and taught Stefan to swim.
“That’s a dangerous spot out there,” he said, eyeing the area where his grandson was last seen.
Stefan Wagner was a third-year student majoring in biomedical engineering at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
The treacherous conditions at Spooner’s Cove have a deadly reputation. The area’s big waves, choppy conditions and currents claimed the life of another Cal Poly student, 19-year-old Enrique Jimenez, in 2006.