SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Five teenagers were pulled from the surf at Ocean Beach in San Francisco Thursday afternoon and hospitalized, with at least one of them in critical condition, authorities said.
Witnesses said the five were pulled out of the water near the intersection of Great Highway and Vicente Street. Their ages and conditions were not immediately known.
Witness Kathleen Tilt said it was scary watching the five victims struggling in the water.”
Just a bunch of young kids out for a day at the beach. So it turned very sad very quick,” she said.
The San Francisco Fire Department said National Park Service lifeguards and two surfers pulled three of the victims out. Firefighters brought the other two back onto the beach.
One of them was unconscious after being pulled out, firefighters said. All five were expected to recover.
“Three of them were walking and they had blankets around them, one of them came up in the back of one of the trucks, and then the worst one, the first kid they had up here, he had all kinds of, like, oxygen and things going on. He was moving, so … but he was probably the worse off,” said Tilt. “Because the others were just, I think, were hypothermic, maybe or had hypothermia because they were covering them up.”
A fire department spokesman said when firefighters arrived, the victims were about 35 to 40 yards away from the beach and the currents kept pulling them farther out.
Ocean Beach is notorious for its rip currents and often treacherous conditions. Firefighters responded to another Ocean Beach rescue just a few days ago.
“It looks very welcoming at this time. But to the trained eye, we can see there’s rip currents out there,” said San Francisco Fire Lt. Jonathan Baxter. “A grown adult in Ocean Beach in ankle deep water can be pulled out into the water. That’s how strong some of these currents are.”
First responders thanked the two surfers with helping them save the victims.
“If it weren’t for those two surfers, it’s very well perceivable that this could have a different outcome,” said Baxter.