Rescuers search for swimmer last seen in surf below Santa Monica Pier

Rescue boats, a helicopter and emergency crews on Sunday were searching for a man who was last seen clinging to a pylon in the waters below the Santa Monica Pier.

Harbor Patrol officers responded to a report of a  swimmer in distress near the pier and found a person hanging over the railing, "looking at someone in the water," said Captain Brian Jordan of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The swimmer was reported last seen about 3 a.m. Sunday.

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Officers searched below the pier but couldn't find the swimmer, Jordan said.

The waters beneath the Santa Monica Pier are dangerous, Jordan said. Barnacles encrusting the pillars supporting the pier can slice a swimmer's skin open and the current can be strong. 

"It was dark, it was cold, and there were waves," Jordan said. 

Authorities have not connected any open missing person case to the swimmer, and the Harbor Patrol has "never actually seen the missing swimmer," but authorities are searching regardless, Jordan said.

Witnesses said the swimmer was a man in black clothing. It's not clear if the witnesses knew the swimmer, Jordan said. 

Crews from the Santa Monica Police Department, Coast Guard, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, and county lifeguards were searching the waters around the pier with several rescue boats Sunday morning, Jordan said. 

Anyone with information about a potential missing swimmer is being asked to call the Coast Guard at 310-521-3815.

frank.shyong@latimes.com

Twitter: @frankshyong

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