Search enters third day for missing 17-year-old off the coast of Pacific Beach

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Authorities continued searching Tuesday for 17-year-old boy Mohamed Almustafa who went missing Sunday during a swim in the ocean off the coast of Pacific Beach and is presumed dead.

The El Cajon teenager, whose name was released on a GoFundMe page started by a friend of the Almustafa family, was in the surf with a group of friends near the foot of Windemere Court about 6 p.m. Sunday when he and one of his companions got caught in a strong rip current. Lifeguards rescued one of the youths, but the other could not be found.

Lifeguards searched the waters in the area until dark, then resumed the effort Monday morning before halting again at nightfall. U.S. Coast Guard crews aboard cutters and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter scanned the ocean overnight, Tuesday morning the search resumed again. 

"Our thoughts go out to the family of the missing swimmer during this extremely difficult time,” said Lt. Andrew Williams, command duty officer of Coast Guard Sector San Diego. "Suspending a search is not an easy decision, and it is made with great care and consideration.”

As of Monday afternoon, the federal maritime agency had searched about 230 square nautical miles, officials said.

Lifeguards, meanwhile, called off their scuba-diving efforts at 12:30 p.m., but continued sweeps with a sonar-equipped boat, according to Monica Munoz, spokeswoman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. 

According to the GoFundMe page, the Almustafa family is a family of seven who fled Aleppo three years ago and were living in Turkey before they were approved to come to the United States. They arrived in San Diego at the end of January. 

"This beautiful family survived the war in Syria, 3 hard years in Turkey and were so excited about their new life in San Diego and after 4 months here this unbelievable tragedy has happened," said Denise Preston, the organizer of the page, who also works for Hearts4Refugees.

Categories: Local San Diego News