Mom waits on shore as lifeguards search for teen swept to sea

Mom stands vigil as lifeguards search for teen swept into ocean by rogue wave.

Authorities continued searching the choppy waters off Laguna Beach on Tuesday for an 18-year-old Las Vegas man who was swept into the ocean by a rogue wave while climbing on the rocks at the water’s edge.

Anthony Parnell’s parents joined the vigil along the coast Monday as friends and family awaited word of the teen’s fate.

"He likes to swim, but he is afraid of fish," Jennifer Parnell said as she stood on the beach. "He is a likable kid, respectful, and comes from a good family who loves him very much."

The teen, a former high school football player who dreamed of serving in the U.S. Army, was apparently exploring a rocky outcropping at Thousand Steps Beach, a picturesque cove in Laguna Beach.



5:07 p.m.: An earlier version of this post said that Parnell had enlisted in the U.S. Army. His mother said he dreamed of serving in the U.S. Army


Jennifer Parnell said she received a call at her home saying her son had gone missing. She said she didn’t know what he was doing in Laguna Beach.

Parnell was pulled into the water Sunday, a day when waves up to 8 feet pounded the coast, said Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi. A 17-year-old girl was also pulled into the water, but friends were able to rescue her.

Parnell, though, disappeared.

Concialdi said authorities believe the teen was pulled into one of the many cave-like openings in the rocks.

"This is extremely rocky coastline and a dangerous section," Concialdi said. "All it takes is one [strong wave] and these jagged rocks.”

Lifeguards on Tuesday searched the waters by boat and personal water craft, the rough water continuing to make it impossible for divers to join the search.

Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Mike Summers said the search would continue until nightfall, and then resume in the morning.

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