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Shad Gaspard goes missing while swimming at Venice Beach
Former WWE star Shad Gaspard, 39, is missing after being pulled into sea while swimming at California's Venice Beach Sunday afternoon with his son
According to TMZ, Gaspard, 39, and his son were among a group of people caught in a strong rip current at the beach in Marina del Rey at about 4 p.m. Sunday.
Lifeguards were able to rescue Gaspard's son, but Gaspard disappeared under a wave and was not seen again. Rescue boats were immediately called to aid in the search, utilized in tandem with efforts from divers and helicopter surveillance, but subsurface search efforts were called off at 7:30 p.m. PST on Sunday.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department Lifeguard Division's Marine Technical Search Team resumed subsurface dive operations at 7 a.m. local time Monday, working in tandem with Baywatch Del Rey using sonar.
While not naming Gaspard, authorities in Los Angeles County told CNN they are actively searching for a swimmer after he was pulled out to sea by a rip current on Sunday afternoon.
The US Coast Guard, Los Angeles County lifeguards and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department are all looking for the swimmer, Trina Schrader, spokeswoman for the sheriff's department, said.
"Weather permitting we'll look for him in the air," Schrader added. "We're using all resources to try to recover him as soon as possible."
The father and son, whose names have not been disclosed, were out on the beach with family on the first weekend since L.A. County beaches reopened in more than a month.
Gaspard is best known for being a member of the wrestling team Cryme Tyme with fellow WWE star JTG, which debuted in 2006. After leaving WWE in 2010, he pursued an acting career and has appeared in films "Think Like a Man Too" and "The Last Sharknado: It's About Time," according to imdb.
He is married and has a young son, aged 10.
Gaspard's wife posted this missing flyer to his social media accounts and hers asking the public for help in finding her husband
Shad Gaspard going missing, more details on what happened
The 39-year-old Gaspard went under at around 4pm local time on Sunday. Helicopters, divers and boats spent hours searching for him until "subsurface searches" were suspended by lifeguards just before sundown. The search continued this morning at around 7am local time.
The incident happened on a day when the surf and the weather created challenging conditions. "That surf that we have paired with a little bit of wind and good tidal swing today made rip currents a little bit more prevalent and a little bit stronger," Barnes said.
Shad's wife, Siliana Gaspard, remained on the beach during the rescue and was seen staring out into the ocean while the Coast Guard searched, according to photos from The Daily Mail. They added that Siliana later left the beach with close friends.
A tent has been set up by the Los Angeles County Fire Department in the search for Shad Gaspard
"I saw the young boy who was inconsolable and his mother who had her arms wrapped around him," said one onlooker to The Daily Mail. "The whole thing was just heartbreaking, absolutely heartbreaking to see this mother and child in complete despair."
Gaspard's son was unharmed and later walked off the beach with an adult friend of the family for around 15 minutes, while his mother remained on the beach during the first part of the search.
Kenichi Haskett of the LA County Fire Department Lifeguard Division also issued a statement on the incident: "We had one of our lifeguards go out to make a double rescue of a father and a son. The father unfortunately got pushed down by a wave as they were getting pulled out of the current. The lifeguard rescued and grabbed the boy, the son, and tried to grab the father as well. He ended up getting pushed down by a wave and we couldn't find him and we immediately started with our rescue boats, called in additional lifeguards to search that location of his dad."
Siliana was seen flanked by close friends as they left Venice Beach while divers continue their search for Shad Gaspard
Siliana and her son were seen back at the beach again on Monday morning, sitting under a tent officials put up due to the raining weather. The Daily Mail added that neighbors have provided Siliana and her son with water, blankets and chairs, noting that they remained at the same location since the incident. One neighbor who lives right on the beach, just steps away from the incident, has also opened his doors for them in case they need a bathroom or place to rest.
Officials in the water were battling the rain and choppy waters as they resumed the rescue attempt. In addition to the boats, divers and helicopters, the LA County Lifeguards division noted on Twitter that their Marine Technical Search Team was working with Baywatch Del Rey to conduct side scanning sonar of the area today.
"Every effort will be made to locate this gentleman, he is somebody's family member, and we all have family, so we will not rest until we feel that every effort has been made to locate him," LASD Deputy Trina Schrader told reporters Monday.
It was also reported by CBS Los Angeles that Shad and his son were around 700 feet away from shore when the incident happened on Sunday.
As noted, there is still no official update on Shad or the status of the search.
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