San Diego lifeguards save Seals in dramatic rescue at Sunset Cliffs
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 01/11/19 - 02:44 PM | 16175 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A pair of San Diego Seals professional lacrosse players jumped from The Arch at Sunset Cliffs into a high surf area and had to be rescued.
A pair of San Diego Seals professional lacrosse players jumped from The Arch at Sunset Cliffs into a high surf area and had to be rescued.
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One of the San Diego Seals professional lacrosse players clings to a ledge after jumping from The Arch. / Photos by Jim Grant
One of the San Diego Seals professional lacrosse players clings to a ledge after jumping from The Arch. / Photos by Jim Grant
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Two recent rescues in wintery storm conditions underscore the need to take extraordinary care whenever surf levels are high.

A man died saving his dog in the first incident, which occurred Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 1:50 p.m. at Dog Beach in Ocean Beach.

The second incident occurred a day later, on Thursday, Jan. 10 about 10:45 a.m., when a pair of San Diego Seals professional lacrosse players jumped from The Arch at Sunset Cliffs into a high surf area and had to be rescued.

Regarding the Jan. 10 incident, San Diego Fire Rescue spokesperson Monica Munoz said lifeguards were notified about two men in their 20s who’d jumped into the water at The Arch – a popular spot for cliff jumpers. 

“One was rescued from the water by lifeguards on a rescue craft and taken to OB,” Munoz said. “The other had climbed onto a cliff ledge. Because of high surf, lifeguards and firefighters performed a cliff rescue to get the second person.”

Munoz said there were no injuries to either of the two men that required their hospitalization.

“It is against San Diego Municipal Code to jump into the Pacific Ocean from a height greater than five feet because it’s dangerous,” said Munoz, noting, “Especially during high surf events, it is not recommended that people get into the water, unless they are swimming near a lifeguard and have a lot of experience as a swimmer.”

Of the Jan. 9 incident, Munoz, said: “SDFD Dispatch Center receive a request for help from the channel area at Dog Beach where a man had been swept into the water as he was trying to retrieve his dog from the river channel. Witnesses told lifeguards that he was found face down in the water a few minutes after he went in.

“Lifeguards were able to pull him from the water using a rescue water craft,” Munoz said. “They brought him to the beach and started CPR.”

The dog either came out of the water on its own or was brought out of the water by someone else, and was eventually taken to family members, noted Munoz.

The Medical Examiner's Office later identified the victim as Nevada resident Gregg Owens. He was admitted to UCSD Hospital's intensive care unit where he was later pronounced dead.

SDFD lifeguards estimated Owen’s age as somewhere in his 50s or 60s.

San Diego lifeguards offer these beach and water safety tips:

• Swim near a lifeguard;

• Never swim alone;

• Supervise children closely, even when lifeguards are present;

• Don't rely on flotation devices, such as rafts or inner-tubes; 

• If caught in a rip current, swim sideways until free, don't swim against the current's pull;

• Do not swim while under the influence of illicit drugs, medications that may cause impairment or alcohol;

• Protect your head, neck and spine – don't dive into unfamiliar waters – feet first, first time;

• If you are in trouble, call or wave for help;

• Follow regulations and lifeguard directions;

• Swim parallel to shore if you wish to swim long distances;

• Scuba dive only if trained and certified – and within the limits of your experience and training;

• Report hazardous conditions to lifeguards or other beach management personnel;

• Stay clear of coastal bluffs, they can collapse and cause injury;

• Never turn your back to the ocean – you may be swept off coastal bluffs or tide pool areas by waves that can come without warning.

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