While his body has yet to be found, a UCSB graduate student is presumed dead after falling into dangerous waters near San Francisco over Spring Break.

On Wednesday, March 29, Shawn Attaie, a graduate student in sociology, fell into the high tide waters of San Francisco’s Baths. Attaie, 22, was visiting a childhood friend, Robert Milano, and had consumed alcohol when the two decided to walk along the rocky coast and venture into caves. While on the cliffs, Attaie was swept into the ocean, said Lt. John Fu of the San Francisco sector of the Coast Guard.

The sociology dept. recently set up a memorial for Attaie in Ellison Hall, with messages such as “We’ll miss you” surrounding it. A sociology dept. advisor said UCSB is still hesitant to hold a more formal memorial for Attaie, as his death remains unconfirmed.

Although Attaie fell into the water on Wednesday morning, his disappearance was not reported until Thursday, at 6:45 p.m. because of what Fu called a series of miscommunications. After being notified, Fu said, the Coast Guard sent out a small boat and helicopter to search for Attaie’s body, but no indications of his remains were located.

“When he was reported missing, the time element was involved,” Fu said. “Until we get more information, we won’t conduct another search.”

Amanda Attaie, Shawn’s mother, said she found out about her son’s disappearance on Thursday evening from the Coast Guard. She learned that the moment Attaie fell into the ocean, Milano became distraught because no one was available to help search for his friend and returned to his nearby home.

“Rob got crazed, and tried getting help, but no one helped,” Amanda Attaie said. “He had no reception for 911 and had a nervous breakdown.”

Later on Wednesday, Milano’s neighbors called the police for him, informing them both about Milano’s distraught state and Attaie’s supposed drowning, Amanda Attaie said. However, the report about the drowning was somehow not recorded.

When police arrived, Amanda Attaie said, they took Milano to the hospital and put him under suicide watch. Milano’s sister, not the police, made the call to the Coast Guard on Thursday afternoon, Amanda Attaie said.

“What happened was a mishandling of the situation by everyone involved,” Attaie said. “They took so long that it was impossible to retrieve him anymore … It was a senseless loss.”

A Santa Cruz native, Attaie was a first-year sociology graduate student interested in social justice, said Jessea Gay Marie, sociology graduate program advisor. The memorial in Ellison Hall includes a picture of Attaie with the quote “Boring People Is Counter-Revolutionary” above it. Candles illuminate the pictures, and books that interested him as well as sincere notes from friends crowd the tabletop.

“Shawn was an exceptional human being, and loved to help people and was a social activist and was a good person,” Amanda Attaie said.

Attaie’s birthday was on April 1, only a few days after he went missing, Amanda Attaie said. His family and friends celebrated his birthday on the cliffs he fell from by throwing cake and flowers into the tumultuous waters.

Amanda Attaie said she hopes San Francisco officials will put up warning signs and restrictions by the dangerous caves in order to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.