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Big Waves Pound California Shore; At Least One Swept Away

Big waves pounded the California coast Monday as authorities searched for a young man swept into the ocean the previous evening.

From Santa Barbara south to Orange County, several other people were swept into the surf but were rescued.

The waves, which could reach heights of 28 feet in some locations, were forecast to persist through Tuesday morning.

Three men were hanging out on the rocks on the Palos Verdes Peninsula when the surf washed them into the water. The area is a popular fishing spot.

Two were able to fight the waves and crawl back to shore but the third, a 23-year-old, never reappeared, officials said.

U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Andrew Munoz said his agency called off its search for the man at around 9:30 a.m. Monday.

Los Angeles County fire and sheriff's department crews actively searched for him, but scaled back the effort at 11:45 a.m., fire Inspector Frank Garrido said.

"We will routinely patrol the area and will place divers in the water when there is a low tide," Garrido said. "Right now the ocean conditions are too intense to conduct an underwater search."

Another three people walking on the Santa Barbara Harbor breakwater were knocked into the water by a huge wave Sunday. They were rescued by the harbor patrol and taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

A hospital spokeswoman was not immediately able to provide information about the patients' conditions Monday.

The breakwater, Stearns Wharf and Pismo Beach Pier were shut down because of the waves, but had reopened by Monday morning, according to the harbor patrol.

In Orange County, a fisherman was swept off rocks in Laguna but was rescued.

High waves also closed the pier at Southern California's Seal Beach on Sunday and Monday.

At Huntington Beach, where waves were about 8 feet to 10 feet, the pier remained open and people came out to watch. Some surfers ventured into the water, but they complained that conditions weren't good.

"It's messy and walled," said Marine Safety Lt. Mike Baumgartner.