Friends search for 29-year-old man lost at sea off Trinidad beach


HUMBOLDT COUNTY, Calif. - A few friends of the man who was last seen being dragged away by the heavy tide at College Cove Beach on Thursday are not wasting any time: They continue to search for their friend.

A supervising state ranger, Brett Silver, said the missing man, 29-year-old Jeremy DeWayne Ashley, was hiking off the trail with a friend in Trinidad. Silver said at one point Ashley lost his footing and fell into the ocean during a heavy tide.

Silver said the friend ran back to her car to find her cellphone and report the accident to authorities, but by the time she ran back to the trail, Ashley was nowhere to be seen.

Jacob Ford is a friend of Ashley's. He is spearheading the searches along with other friends.

"What we can see, as close as we could get without putting ourselves at risk, we're just trying to search anywhere the coast guard hasn't looked, and places people are not frequenting often," Ford said.

Ford began searching on Thursday. He was at the scene while a full-on search and rescue operation by Cal Fire, Humboldt County sheriff's deputies, the U.S. Coast Guard, and state park rangers took place.

Despite the search by various departments, Ford said they have only found one shoe belonging to Ashley. He said it was found near the site of the accident.

"If he never hit anything or got tucked under a rock, or got hit by something or got washed up by the shore, he could be anywhere north from Brookings to Crescent City area," Ford said.

Ford and his search team are scouring beaches and coastal points for any sign of Ashley. They are even calculating current tide conditions to predict Ashley's location.

The government search was suspended by officials, so other than park rangers making their daily rounds, friends and family are the only ones still looking for Ashley.

A U.S. Coast Guard public affairs officer said they would resume the search if any new leads came up. Ford is now asking for help from local fisherman.

He said, "And see if they could charter us out, and we will pay for whatever they need to drive us around these little nooks and crannies, or anyone who has drones, surf boards or anything."

He hopes local water sport enthusiasts can join them in the search.

Ford said Ashley is a fighter, specifically a martial artist.

"Jeremy was learning Muay Thai from this this guy, so he was teaching us whatever he was learning, he taught us how to kick," Ford said.

Ford holds onto hope that his friend is still fighting out there.