February 3, 2023

Hamzah Alsaudi, a San Francisco State student, disappeared Thursday during a “polar plunge” at Esplanade Beach in Pacifica, California, police said in a news release

At around 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 19, police were called to the beach for a swimmer in distress. Officials said that Alsaudi and two others went into the ocean, but while in the water Alsaudi, 22, was hit with a large wave that pulled him further from shore. 

The other two swimmers were able to make it back to the shore and called 911 for help, police said. 

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Hamzah Alsaudi

Pacifica Police Department


The U.S. Coast Guard sent aircraft and a surface vessel to assist in the search for Alsaudi, police said. CBS Bay Area reported that several other agencies, including a California Highway Patrol air unit and a drone from the San Bruno Police Department, were requested to aid in the search.

Born in Baghdad, Iraq, Alsaudi was a senior at San Francisco State majoring in political science with a minor in Arab studies, the college said. He was also a beloved member of the institution’s wrestling team, said his school in a letter to the community shared on Friday afternoon and was a four-year letter winner in high school.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Gator community right now as we process this news,” the letter said. “We remain deeply grateful to the Coast Guard, Police Department, and others for all they have done to help with the search.” 


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