Rescue efforts underway for missing surfer as powerful waves pound Bay Area

Rescue efforts resumed Thursday for a surfer who was seen unconscious in rough ocean waters off Marin County, even as powerful surf continued to pound the California coast.

Dan Dafoe, 40, of San Rafael was last seen about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday face down in the ocean toward the north end of Rodeo Beach, a popular destination for Bay Area surfers just three miles northwest of the Golden Gate Bridge, according to Battalion Chief Bret McTigue of the Marin County Fire Department.

Two surfers tried to bring Dafoe to shore, but the surf was intense, reaching up to 10 feet with 15-second intervals.

Just before the surfers reached the beach, they were slammed by a large wave and lost Dafoe. He was last seen in the water near a cave at the same beach.

Search and rescue efforts were postponed Wednesday night due to hazardous ocean conditions and limited visibility, but resumed at 6 a.m. Thursday.

Firefighters used watercraft and a helicopter from the U.S. Coast Guard to search for Dafoe.

“The helicopter was being used to provide light, but we couldn’t risk keeping our resources out there in those conditions,” McTigue said in a statement. “We will resume the search at sunlight through water, ground and air.”

The search comes two days after rescue efforts were called off for two college students who were swept to sea by a large wave at Bonny Doon Beach in Santa Cruz.

Powerful surf has continued to pummel the California coastline, prompting advisories across the state.

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The National Weather Service on Thursday warned of possible coastal flooding and swells as a result of unusually high surf called king tides that are expected to continue until Saturday. King tides occur near the solstices and create dangerous conditions at beaches.

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