Search underway for San Francisco State wrestler after jump into ocean during ‘polar plunge’
A San Francisco State University student-athlete went missing Thursday after jumping into the waters near Pacifica during a polar plunge, police announced.
According to authorities, Hamzah Alsaudi, 22, was hit by a large wave while he and two others were swimming at Esplanade Beach at approximately 10:30 a.m. The wave pulled Alsaudi away from the shoreline.
A search then quickly began for Alsaudi, who was a member of the school’s wrestling team. The North County Fire Authority is assisting the Coast Guard in the search and rescue efforts.
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The two friends who were in the water with Alsaudi at the time of the disappearance searched for the wrestler but eventually dialed 911 after making it back to the beach.
Crews used drones, aircraft and a surface vessel before calling off the search Friday.
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School officials said search efforts will not resume this weekend.
“I write to you with a heavy heart,” a statement said. “At this time, we have been told that authorities are no longer actively searching for Hamzah, and he is considered missing.”
Pacifica is located 15 miles south of San Francisco. During the time of Alsaudi’s polar plunge, the area was reportedly experiencing rip tides.
A sign at Manor Beach on Esplanade Avenue displays a warning sign for the rip currents in the area.
During a polar plunge, swimmers jump into cold water during the winter.
Calllum Bisping, who identified himself as a San Francisco State wrestler, told FOX 2 News Alsaudi was a well-loved teammate.
“Sad, obviously. It hasn’t fully set in yet. He was an amazing guy, one of my best friends on the team. Very giving,” said Bisping.
Alsaudi is studying political science with a minor in Arab and Muslim ethnicities and diasporas studies.
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