Wave sweeps away Georgia man off Oregon coast

An Athens man is presumed dead after being swept by a wave Friday from the Oregon coastline into the Pacific Ocean, authorities said.

Kelly Bennett Smith, 26, was visiting the coast for the first time with five other friends after finishing up a job, Oregon State Police said in a news release. He and another friend climbed out on the rocks at the Rocky Creek Scenic View Point shortly before 11 a.m. to get as close to the water to take some photos, when a rogue wave approached and struck them from behind. Smith was pulled by the current out into the rough seas and was seen for about seven minutes, before sinking below the water, police said.

U.S. Coast Guard officers began a search for Smith, but have been unable to find him.

The surf was heavy in the area where Smith was knocked into the ocean, which prevented him from climbing to safety, rescuers told the Statesman Journal newspaper.