Coast Guard and other law enforcement agencies scaled down their search
Wednesday for KFMB-TV photographer Sean O'Kane, missing since Monday morning.
Authorities continued to refer to their efforts as a "rescue," but by
Wednesday it appeared all but certain that O'Kane's leased helicopter, on its
way to a training flight in Long Beach, had crashed into the ocean near
Encinitas in North San Diego County.
KNSD(TV), where O'Kane had worked previously, reported Wednesday that part of
the day's search was centered in a kelp bed offshore near Cardiff-by-the-Sea.
Only a little debris had been found as of Wednesday.
Before losing contact Monday, O'Kane had asked air traffic controllers for
permission to increase his altitude to get out of a cloud bank.
Witnesses in the Encinitas area told local reporters they heard sounds of an
engine backfiring and sputtering, then a loud splash.