211 people rescued during rough weekend surf

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Personal Injury News

Article Date: 7/28/2009 | Resource: MLG

211 people rescued during rough weekend surf

The big surf that knocked a piece from the San Clemente Pier on Friday also resulted in 211 ocean rescues and 3,890 preventive actions over a two-day period, local lifeguards reported.

Friday’s powerful waves knocked a crossbeam from the pier, prompting city officials to close most of the 1,200-foot-long structure at 2:35 p.m. as a safety precaution. The city reopened the pier at 10:08 a.m. Saturday after an inspection concluded it was safe.

Marine Safety’s Rod Mellott said lifeguards plucked 211 bathers from rip currents and other hazards Friday and Saturday while also taking 3,890 preventive actions. If that seems like an impossibly large number, Mellott explained that “it could be … there were 20 people in a rip current.” If a lifeguard with a loudspeaker gave the 20 bathers direction to get out of the rip current, that would count as 20 preventive actions, he said.

Friday’s south swell sent waves 8 to 10 feet high onto the beaches, dropping slightly to 6 to 8 feet Saturday morning, then easing late in the day. The swell also sent gobs of kelp onto the beaches, uprooting the seaweed from kelp beds off the coast.

Most of the ocean rescues came Friday, when the swell peaked, Mellott said. But he said lifeguards had performed nearly as many rescues – 127 – last Tuesday, when the surf wasn’t nearly as big.

This week’s forecast calls for mild surf.

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Jeffrey Marquart