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28-Year-Old Man Drowns In Riptide Off Zuma Beach
One man died when he got carried away in a riptide in the turbulent waters off of Zuma Beach Sunday afternoon.
Lifeguards tried to rescue Jose Garcia, 28, of Sun Valley when they spotted him struggling in the waves around 3:45 p.m., according to City News Service. But they were too late to save him in chest-high water 50 feet from shore and waves that were up to 7 feet tall. Kenichi Haskett, ocean lifeguard captain with the L.A. County Fire Department Lifeguard Division, said that Garcia slipped under the waves just as lifeguards were closing in on him.
Haskett told NBC Los Angeles, "It looked like he did not know how to swim and pretty much immediately went under the water."
They weren't able to find him until a helicopter crew spotted him over an hour later at 5:05 p.m. He was pulled from the water but he couldn't be resuscitated. The coroner's office ID'd him today.
It was a busy day for lifeguards. During the time that lifeguards were looking for Garcia, they rescued three more people. NBC reported that there were 270 rescues in Los Angeles County, and about 70 of those were at Zuma. Venice Beach was hit hard, too:
"The surf is really big and the currents are really strong," Haskett said. "Today is not a good day for beginners."
Lifeguards suggested that swimmers take into consideration their own abilities before they hop in the water on dangerous days. And if you do decide to take that risk, swimming in front of a lifeguard tower is a good idea, Haskett says. We can expect big waves thanks to warmer waters caused by El Niño. Here's some advice in case you do get caught in a riptide: