News first broke on Monday morning that former WWE Superstar Shad Gaspard had disappeared after he and his 10-year-old son were caught in a riptide while swimming at Marina del Rey in Venice Beach on Sunday afternoon. On Tuesday ESPN released a story in which they interviewed Kenichi Haskett, Section Chief of the LA County Fire Department - Lifeguard Division and firefighter-paramedic Steve Smith, who spoke with Gaspard's son Aryeh.
According to Haskett, the pair were roughly 75 yards from the shore when the rescue team first arrived, but by the time they reached them the two had been pushed out 200 yards north due to the current.
"The best way I can describe it is like being inside a front-loading washing machine," Haskett said. "The waves keep crashing on you, pushing you down. ... I've been through that, those kind of rescues. You think you might die."
The unnamed lifeguard who reached the pair attempted to throw out a "rescue can' — a flotation device the pair would be able to use to get float back to shore. Unfortunately the waves were too high. Gaspard then told the lifeguard to rescue his son.
"Take my son," Gaspard told the lifeguard. "Save my son."
It took three minutes to get the Aryeh back to shore.
"A wave pushed (Gaspard) under in the impact zone," Haskett said when the lifeguard turned to go back for the pro wrestler. "He didn't resurface after that."
Smith said Aryeh repeateldy kept saying "Dad told me to push off to the guy [the lifeguard]," once he was rescued.0comments
The Coast Guard suspended its search for Gaspard on Tuesday morning. Not long after that, the Gaspard family released a statement.
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We would like to express our gratitude to the first responders who rescued Aryeh and to the lifeguards, coast guard, divers, fire and police departments for their continued efforts to help find our beloved Shad. . . Shad is a fighter, a warrior and a magical soul. We are hoping and praying for his safe return. As a family we thank you all for your concern and well wishes. Please continue to keep sending your positivity and prayers to our beloved Shad. . . The Entire Gaspard & Chittick Family
WWE then released its first statement on the situation — "WWE's thoughts are with the family of Shad Gaspard. Please continue to keep them in your thoughts during this difficult time."