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US Coast Guard searches for US Marine who went swimming in Puerto Rico during high surf advisory

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard said Thursday it is searching for a U.S. Marine who went swimming in high surf off Puerto Rico’s northeast coast while on vacation.

Officials identified him as 26-year-old Samuel Wanjiru from Massachusetts and said he was visiting the island with his family. He went missing Wednesday afternoon after going into the water at La Pared beach in Luquillo.

Also on Wednesday, another American tourist died in northwest Puerto Rico after authorities said he rescued his teenage children who had been swept away by heavy surf.

“This month has been deadly when it comes to beach drownings in the area of Puerto Rico,” said Capt. Jose E. Díaz, commander of the U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan. “People need to realize that the situation is serious enough to limit our ability to respond to search and rescue cases with surface vessels without further endangering our crews and assets.”

A high surf advisory was issued late Tuesday for Puerto Rico’s northwest, north and northeast coasts and will remain in effect until late Thursday, with waves of up to 12 feet (4 meters).

Díaz noted that most open ocean beaches in Puerto Rico do not have lifeguards.

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