Braxton Stuntz, 18, was waking along California beach trails Saturday when he slipped into a blowhole
An 18-year-old boy is feared dead after he slipped into a blowhole while hiking with friends.
Braxton Stuntz was walking along trails at Garrapata State Beach Saturday, between
Monterey County sheriff’s officials say Stuntz leaned in to inspect the blowhole when he slipped and fell 15 feet onto the rocky beach below.
Friends who were with Stuntz said he initially gave them a ‘thumbs-up’, but after a few crashes of 14-foot waves, he disappeared.
On Tuesday, four days after he went missing, the search efforts shifted to a recovery mission as Stuntz is now feared dead.
Pictured is the blowhole that Stuntz slipped into. Friends say he initially gave a ‘thumbs up’ but then 14-foot waves hit
At the time of his disappearance, the Sheriff’s Office said the waves reached 14 feet high and came in nine-second intervals, flooding the area.
The force and frequency of the waves pushed Stuntz under water, officials said
Officials say his friends immediately called for help after Stuntz disappeared.
Friend Ali Bowen was at the scene when Stuntz fell.
‘Even though responders came quickly, I mean we moved as fast as we could, the EMT moved as fast as they could, and it wasn’t fast enough,’ Bowen told KION.
Video shows the moments his friends went looking for their Stuntz.
‘Where was he last?’ someone says, while another person gestures to the rocks.
‘So see this hole? He slipped. They’re saying he’s under, over there now,’ they say.
The rescue search was shifted to a recovery mission Tuesday, four days after he initially disappeared
Stuntz last Instagram photo was posted two days before his disappearance, showing Bixby Creek Bridge, near where he went missing. Condolence messages have filled the comments
Members with MCSO Search and Rescue, Mid-Coast Fire, Cal-Fire, California State Park Rangers/Lifeguards, and CHP Helicopter are assisting in the search effort, which went throughout the night Saturday.
Authorities are now observing if conditions are safe enough to send out a dive team.
‘For people who don’t know the risks it can be really alarming how easily you can slip and fall, and then be in big trouble,’ local resident Jared Sandman told
Stuntz, who is from Monterey County, was active on social media and his website shows his love for photography and adventure.
His last Instagram photo was posted just two days before his disappearance, showing Bixby Creek Bridge, near where he went missing.
Friends, family and even well intentioned strangers have been paying tribute to the teen after his disapearance.
‘Such young talent lost too soon. A terrible loss. Condolences to the family,’ wrote on friend.
Another added simply: ‘Rest in peace, Braxton’.
One Instagram user wrotye: ‘I didn’t know you until I came across the news in Facebook. All of your works are really awesome. I don’t want to believe that you are gone.’
Authorities are now observing conditions to send out a dive team to find Stuntz