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Hours-long search is called off for off-duty airman swept into ocean

Hours-long search is called off for off-duty airman swept into ocean
The U.S. Coast Guard has called off the search for an off-duty airman who was swept into the ocean.

The U.S. Coast Guard has called off its seven-hour search for an off-duty California Air National Guard airman who was swept by a wave into waters just south of Monterey.

The airman was fishing near Garrapata State Beach Tuesday morning when the wave swept him into the sea, said Lt. Sean Kelly of the U.S. Coast Guard.

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Coast Guard crews, along with state park rangers, area firefighters and sheriff's deputies, began searching for him about 9:36 a.m. on land and in water.

They called off the lengthy search that night.

"The decision to suspend a search and rescue case is one of the most difficult decisions to make," said Capt. Greg Stump, commander, Coast Guard Sector San Francisco. "I want to extend my sincere condolences to the family, friends and California Air National Guard."

The airman was assigned to the 129th Rescue Wing at Moffett Field.

The unit often performs search and rescue missions, saving more than 900 lives since 1975, according to its website.

For breaking news throughout California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA. She can be reached at veronica.rocha@latimes.com.

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