Shad Gaspard: LAPD still looking for WWE star who went missing at sea despite Coast Guard calling off its efforts
The US Coast Guard has suspended its search for Shad Gaspard, the ex-WWE star who went missing after he was caught in a current while he was swimming at a Los Angeles beach with his 10-year-old son on Sunday, May 17.
However, the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that it is still looking for Gaspard and even sought the public's help on Tuesday.
TMZ reported that the US Coast Guard stopped their search for the 39-year-old, but that at least one boat was still searching for him as of Tuesday morning. However, authorities are said to be losing hope of finding him. While efforts have been drastically scaled back in the search for the pro-wrestler, authorities will reportedly not close the case until they find him.
Gaspard had been at the newly reopened Marina Del Rey Beach on Sunday with his son when the pair, along with a group of other swimmers, got caught in a strong rip current around 50 yards from the shore. Lifeguards at the scene rushed into the water to rescue everyone and managed to pull out the wrestler's son, but not him. One witness at the scene revealed that when the lifeguards started their rescue operation, Gaspard directed them to help out his son first. As the rescue was in progress, another big wave reportedly crashed down on the swimmers, and Gaspard was pulled away.
"We had one of our lifeguards go out to make a double rescue of a father and a son," Kenichi Haskett, Los Angeles County Fire Dept Lifeguard Division told the Daily Mail. "The father, unfortunately, got pushed down by a wave as they were getting pulled out of the current. The lifeguard rescued and grabbed the boy, the son, and tried to grab the father as well."
"He ended up getting pushed down by a wave and we couldn't find him and we immediately started with our rescue boats, called in additional lifeguards to search that location of his dad," he added.
Gaspard's wife, Siliana, was also at the beach and was seen staring out into the ocean for her husband after their son was rescued. She was later consoled by close friends as the search for the 39-year-old continued with the help of multiple lifeguards, divers, rescue boats, paramedics on standby, and the coast guard's helicopters.
"There were unusually strong rip currents the day before this happened," one source told the Mail. "Two girls were pulled out because of the riptide. I am not sure why swimmers weren't warned. Lifeguards were there immediately but the helicopter took almost an hour to get there. If you feel a strong pull, that's the time to get out of the water. But many swimmers may not think anything of the pull, especially if they don't go to the beach a lot."
Both Siliana and her son stayed on the beach as the rescue operation for Gaspard went on. "And one neighbor who lives right on the beach just steps away from the incident has opened his doors for them in case they need a bathroom or a place to rest," a local resident said.
WWE star Kofi Kingston, Gaspard's former tag-team partner Montel Vontavious Porter, and Gregory Shane Helms were among the several wrestlers who tweeted a statement on behalf of Gaspard's family: "@Shadbeast's family appreciates all the love, support, and concern through this horrible ordeal. At this time they are not ready to make any public or official statements to any media outlet And ask all to respect their wishes."