The Coast Guard late Tuesday suspended the search for two University of California, Santa Cruz students who were missing after big waves swept them out to sea.
Authorities say the college students were on a rock jutting into the ocean at Bonny Doon Beach in Santa Cruz County around 5 p.m. Monday when they were struck by a wave. The 22-hour search covered 46 square miles before it was suspended Tuesday, officials said.
State parks Public Safety Superintendent Bill Wolcott tells the Santa Cruz Sentinel a third student was also swept off the rock, but was able to make it back to shore.
The two students have been identified as a 26-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman. Family members tell NBC Bay Area both are San Jose residents. Their names have not been released.
"Seems like there is just way too many broken rocks out there for anybody to be stuck in it and not be seen immediately," said Ilyas Ahsan, an uncle of the missing woman.
The Coast Guard searched through Monday night and resumed its air and water search in the middle of Tuesday's storm.
"With large surf forecast for the next few weeks, these unfortunate types of events are more likely to occur,” Frawley said.
The missing students are members of the Muslim Student Association at UCSC. The group game out to watch the high surf at the remote beach between Santa Cruz and Davenport.
Ahsan said his niece was a freshman at the university.
"The brightest child you've ever seen," Ahsan said of his missing niece.
With the search now suspended, the two families are now deciding how they will continue looking for the missing students.
Ahsan is urging everyone who visits the beach to be on the lookout for the missing students.