San Diego city workers sealed off the entrances to several underground tunnels and caves Thursday morning along Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach.
“I think it goes completely under this parking lot” said Jose DeSantiago of La Mesa, who explored the tunnels before they were closed.
“You kind of go into this really crowded cramped hole. There are rocks surrounding you,” DeSantiago described. “It’s really hard to get into it at first. But after the first five feet, it kind of tunnels out and it just gets bigger and bigger and wider and wider until eventually you can stand”.
Jose’s curiosity is exactly what the city is up against as they try to keep the tunnels off limits because of safety concerns.
Ocean Beach locals say teens and young adults are the main people who enter the caves.
“It’s just a well-known fact that young kids who are underage will go down here and drink. Their parents might not know they’re down there. What if somebody falls? Gets hurt?” said Donna Napolitan, a 35-year resident of Ocean Beach.
The tunnel sealed off by San Diego’s Park and Recreation department Thursday isn’t the only one in the area.
“I’ve heard an urban legend about there being one that was used during prohibition where boats would pull up and unload and carry the alcohol in underneath one of the homes upon the cliffs” Napolitan said.
A woman who answered the door of the home referenced by Napolitan said there is a sealed off entrance in her basement which she believes once led to the tunnels.
While some people consider the underground pathways a “hidden gem” worth exploring, the city says they are too dangerous to be left open and accessible.