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Pair On Night Swim To Alcatraz Prompts Coast Guard Search

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This 18 August 2005 file photo shows an aerial view of Alcatraz Island, in San Francisco Bay of California. Once a sinister home to notorious mobsters and murderers, Alcatraz is in line for an environmental makeover that could see the imposing former prison island become a tree-hugger's paradise. The US Parks Service is studying plans to make Alcatraz self-sufficient in an attempt to lessen the impact on the environment and provide an example to the rest of the US. By 2014, authorities expect to have installed a waste reprocessing plant as well as a de-salination plant to provide drinking water. AFP PHOTO/Helene Labriet-Gross/FILES (Photo credit should read HELENE LABRIET-GROSS/AFP/Getty Images)

An aerial view of Alcatraz Island, in San Francisco Bay (Helene-Labriet Gross/AFP/Getty Images)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Two men who went on a night swim to Alcatraz Island prompted a three-hour search and rescue effort in the Bay on Thursday, a U.S. Coast Guard official said.

The two men left from Aquatic Park in San Francisco around 8 p.m. Thursday and swam to Alcatraz, the former federal penitentiary that now is a tourist destination usually reached by boat, Coast Guard Operations Specialist Daniel Roybal said.

The pair was eventually found on the island wearing wetsuits, fins, and weighted belts for the swim.

A friend on the San Francisco shore reported the swimmers to authorities. The friend said he had tried to dissuade the two from heading into the water, Roybal said.

The two men were found hiding on the island after several Coast Guard boats had been sent to the area to search for them.

Flares were set off to illuminate the island, Roybal said, and eventually National Park Service personnel arrived with flashlights and found the two men evading search crews.

According to Roybal, the two were trespassing on National Park Service property.

The swimmers were in OK condition and did not need any medical assistance, Roybal said.

Officials said the men, each 38 years old, were off-duty firefighters from an agency outside the San Francisco Bay Area.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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