By Allison Jarrell | LB Indy
Laguna Beach Lifeguards and local authorities were kept busy late last week with back-to-back ocean rescues on Thursday, Sept. 5, and Friday, Sept. 6.
Laguna Beach Marine Safety Capt. Kai Bond said lifeguards responded to Bird Rock Beach for a two-person rescue at 4:55 p.m. last Thursday. Laguna Beach firefighters and police officers also responded to the call.
“On scene, lifeguards rescued a semi-conscious female floating face up, approximately 15 yards offshore,” Bond said, adding that she was exhausted, but her condition improved when she got to the shore. “The second victim had submerged prior to their arrival and was missing underwater. Lifeguards quickly located the submerged unconscious male approximately 25 yards offshore.”
Bond said the man was rescued by lifeguards and brought to the beach, where CPR was administered. Paramedics arrived on scene and provided advanced life support.
“Both of those victims were transported to the hospital—the female victim was transported to Mission Hospital Laguna Beach, where she was released later that evening,” Bond said. “The male victim is currently at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo—his condition is not known.”
Bond confirmed that the man and woman were related, but could not confirm the specifics of their relationship. Contrary to other media reports, Bond said there was not a third person involved in the rescue.
Bond said it’s difficult to determine how the man and woman began struggling in the water, but it appeared that the woman was exhausted while trying to swim ashore. “I would assume that exhaustion was some sort of part of the equation with the male,” Bond said.
Then on Friday, Sept. 6, at 10:51 p.m., Bond said lifeguards responded to a report of a missing swimmer at Main Beach.
“Per the reporting party, an approximately 35-year-old female entered the water and disappeared,” Bond said. “Lifeguards thoroughly searched the area for over an hour; however, they were unable to locate the missing person in that location. Police, fire, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and U.S. Coast Guard resources were utilized during that portion of the event.”
Bond said lifeguards continued searching for the woman, and at 12:40 a.m., the U.S. Coast Guard helicopter located the swimmer approximately 1 mile offshore in front of Shaw’s Cove.
Bond said the woman was found conscious, breathing and intoxicated. She was hoisted from the water and flown to Hoag Hospital by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Bond issued a reminder to take safety precautions when swimming in Laguna.
“The most important thing you can do when you go to the beach is swim near an open lifeguard tower, and always check with that lifeguard on the beach conditions and ocean conditions,” Bond said. “You should always know your abilities and limitations as it pertains to the ocean environment, and always swim with a buddy.”