Two presumed drowned off Huntington Beach
Families of the two missing swimmers arrived from their homes in Banning and held a vigil on the beach into the evening, hugging one another and wailing.
The men were with a group from the Laotian Evangelical Church attending a wedding.
Four people in the party ventured into the high surf on the south side of the pier and were caught in a rip current.
One of the men was able to swim ashore. Huntington Beach lifeguards rescued a second, Sai Yang, in his mid-20s.
“I was able to keep afloat and that’s how they were able to spot me,” Yang said.
But the other two never returned. A church member identified the missing men as John Shua Lee, 24, and Shao Moua, 20, both of Banning
Orange County Lifeguards, several police agencies, the harbor patrol and the Huntington Beach Fire Department joined in a futile search involving a flotilla of rescue boats, jet skis and scuba divers.
--Doug Smith and Allen J. Schaben
Caption: Members of the Laotian Evangelical Church in Banning mourn two friends who are feared drowned while swimming Saturday south of Huntington Beach Pier. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles TimesMore photos