4 rescued from Ocean Beach surf
A user of a local surfing website has posted what he says is a firsthand account of his efforts to help four people eventually rescued from the waters of Ocean Beach Wednesday.
Witnesses said the victims appeared to be a family with two adults and two youths, KTVU reported.
Golden Gate National Recreation Area spokesman Howard Levitt told the Bay City News news service that U.S. Park Police, the U.S. Coast Guard and the San Francisco Fire Department responded to Ocean Beach after the people were reported in the water at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. One witness told the Ocean Beach Bulletin via Twitter that 10 emergency vehicles were gathered near the beach and Judah Street.
Thursday morning, a user of the local surfing website StokeReport posted a comment claiming to have helped rescue the family from Ocean Beach’s cold waters. The user, who goes by the handle “Madraz” and whose real name was not available, wrote that he was running on the beach when he noticed two people in the water and a woman shouting that her son was out there:
It was obvious they were caught in a rip and I hesitated before going in knowing how dangerous OB can be. Turned out there was another guy who waded out to help and got himself in trouble also.
Turned out there was another guy who waded out to help and got himself in trouble also. I got to the boy pretty quickly and tried to get him to calm down, I also told the other guy to try to follow me parallel to the beach away from the rip but he was really struggling to swim. I was trying to drag the boy backwards but he kept turning over onto his front making his situation worse, he was having a hard time keeping his head above water.
Eventually I got the boy onto one of the inner sand bars where he could stand. At this time the other guy who was also trying to rescue them got into serious trouble in the rip and was asking me for help I kept telling him to swim across the rip to where I was and I almost managed to reach across to him but he wasn’t strong enough to make it those few feet.
In the meantime the kid that I had thought was safe seemed to have followed me and stepped off the sandbar and back into the rip. It was at that stage that I was reluctant to go back out after them because they were pulled out really quickly. I got caught myself but managed to swim across the rip back to the sandbar and while deciding what to do I heard the beach patrol approaching. I decided I had done as much I could without putting myself in any more danger and decided to leave it to the trained rescue personnel. The 2 lifeguards got out there pretty quick on their boards and got those guys in safely.
The Ocean Beach Bulletin has reached out to Madraz for more information but has not yet received a reply. Although Mardraz’s story could not be immediately verified, that account has been active on StokeReport for more than a year.
One of the youths reportedly was taken from the scene in an ambulance and another was seen being given oxygen, according to KTVU. Photos posted by KTVU on its website, and by KTVU anchor Ken Wayne on his Facebook page showed Fire Department personnel including surf rescue swimmers tending to a person covered in a blanket, and in one shot a rescue swimmer was holding what appeared to be a tank of compressed air or oxygen.
Levitt told BCN that the rescue appeared to be “successful,” and a Coast Guard representative said that the victims already had been rescued by the time the Coast Guard arrived at Ocean Beach.