The 10-year-old boy was rescued, however his father, former WWE star Shad Gaspard 39, is still missing. DailyMail.com was there as multiple lifeguards were on the scene, along with divers, rescue boats, paramedics on standby, the coast guard flying back and forth and helicopters hovering over the crowded beach for nearly three hours.
‘I saw the young boy who was inconsolable and his mother who had her arms wrapped around him,’ said one onlooker. ‘The whole thing was just heartbreaking, absolutely heartbreaking to see this mother and child in complete despair.’
On Monday afternoon Gaspard’s wife Siliana Gaspard was seen on the beach being consoled by close friends as the search continued for her husband.
The boy was unharmed and later walked off the beach with an adult friend for about fifteen minutes, while his mother Siliana Gaspard remained on the beach painstakingly staring out into the ocean.
‘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 DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview.
‘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.’
Gaspard is best known as a member of the wrestling team Cryme Tyme with fellow WWE star JTG.
Since leaving the wrestling world in 2010, Gaspard pursued an acting career starring in several movies including Think Like A Man Too.
He married wife Siliana Gaspard in 2009 and they share one son together. The mother and a few friends left the beach at about 12:30pm. The rescue station was also shut down at the same time.
Prior to leaving, Siliana was seen sitting on the beach with some friends and possible family members who were consoling her and rubbing her back. Their son had left about 30 minutes prior with an adult and another young boy. Officials wouldn’t confirm whether or not the body had been found.
Helicopters can still be heard hovering over the beach and many locals are asking the question why the beach wasn’t closed off if the rip currents were so strong.
‘There were unusually strong rip currents the day before this happened. Two girls were pulled out because of the riptide. I am not sure why swimmers weren’t warned,’ Daisy Godfrey tells DailyMail.com. ‘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.’
Haskett encourages people to swim in front of an open lifeguard tower and to always check in with the lifeguard about the swimming conditions.
‘Stay knee deep, you don’t need to out and get pounded by the shore. Know your abilities and stay within your abilities,’ Haskett advises.
Local resident Lisa Thompson said she was brought to tears just the other day when her daughters were in harm’s way while swimming at the same beach.
‘Yesterday my two girls got pulled in by lifeguards. It was upsetting, I was crying. My daughters didn’t even know realize they were getting pulled out.’
‘I have been doing this for 33 years, and this is only the second time this has ever happened,’ a Venice Beach lifeguard told DailyMail.com.
As of 7am, the search for the missing dad continued with his wife and young son on site.
‘The mother and son have remained on the beach at the same location since yesterday. Neighbors have provided them with water and blankets and chairs.
‘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,’ Venice local Patricia Powell tells DailyMail.com.
To make matters more challenging, it has been raining since early morning.