Girl, 5, dies after being swept out to sea; search for grandfather suspended

The Coast Guard has suspended the search for the girl's grandfather.

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. — A 5-year-old girl died after being swept out to sea at a California beach on Saturday, authorities said. Officials have suspended a search for her grandfather, who was also carried out by the waves.

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The child, identified as Naretzi Navarrete of Merced, was pulled out of the waters in Half Moon Bay, KRON-TV reported. She was taken to an area hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 3:32 p.m. PST on Sunday, according to U.S. Coast Guard officials.

According to the Coast Guard, a search for a 54-year-old man, who was also swept out into the water with the girl, was called off at about 2:53 p.m. PST on Sunday, KPIX-TV reported. The man has been identified as Navarrete’s grandfather, according to KRON.

The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office identified the man as Pascal A. Michelettosoriano, of Hughson, KTVU reported.

Both victims were swept off Martins Beach in Half Moon Bay by a wave, according to the television station.

A helicopter and rescue boat were able to find Navarrete, and the girl was airlifted to Stanford Hospital, KRON reported.

The Coast Guard said it searched for Michelettosoriano for more than 22 hours and covered 100 square miles, KGO-TV reported.

“The decision to suspend search efforts is one of the hardest decisions to make, but our crews searched for nearly 24 hours without any sightings of the missing person,” Capt. Jordan Baldueza, deputy commander, Coast Guard Sector San Francisco, told KRON.

The National Weather Service had warned of an increased risk of potentially deadly sneaker waves Saturday and early Sunday, according to KPIX.

Sneaker waves surge much farther up the beach than expected and can overtake an unaware swimmer, the National Weather Service said. The waves can sweep people into the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean, according to KPIX.

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