Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

A search will resume early Tuesday for an 18-year- old missing since Sunday afternoon when he was knocked off his feet by heavy surf near Laguna Beach.

The searchers will include Orange County lifeguards, and members of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s Harbor Patrol,  Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi said.

The man, identified by family members as Anthony Parnell, was last seen in the water off Thousand Steps Beach with three friends around 1:35 p.m. Sunday, Concialdi said.

Concialdi described the water conditions Sunday as “treacherous” with five-to-eight foot waves interspersed with others that were larger.

“A wave hit him and probably knocked him off his feet and he disappeared,” Concialdi said of the missing man. “We believe he fell into a crack in the rocks.”

With high surf forecast again for Tuesday, Concialdi said some lifeguards would be monitoring cracks and crevices in the rocks, while the Harbor Patrol would be further offshore.

The man’s family has been summoned to Laguna Beach from Nevada, according to Concialdi, who said volunteers provided grief counseling to the victim’s friends.

The parents — Jennifer and Foster Parnell — issued the following statement:

“Anthony was a wonderful human being. He was caring and very passionate. He loved his family and was incredibly close to his brothers.

“He loved football, music and art. He was a wonderful athlete and he was looking forward to joining the military like his two older brothers. He had already signed up with the U.S. Army.

“He loved to lie by the pool and he loved to cook. He respected his Centennial High coaches and he looked up to all of them.

“In this very difficult time we ask that everyone respect our family and its privacy. Everyone out here (is) working very hard and we are so thankful for all of them, the fire department, the lifeguards, the Laguna Beach Police Department and the TIP (Trauma Intervention Program) volunteers.”

There were nine drowning deaths at Orange County beaches in 2014, Concialdi said.

“All avoidable,” he said. “If (there are) treacherous waters, just look at them from a safe distance.”

—City News Service

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