Four good Samaritans rushed to the aid of a local surfer in Encinitas who was found floating next to his board. Despite their heroic efforts, the man later died at a local hospital.
Tom Schaefer said he was one of the four who spotted the surfer. At first he didn’t realize anything was wrong.
“Saw him off the corner of my eye lying in the water, but a lot of guys lay in the water when the big sets come, so it’s not out of the ordinary,” Schaefer said. “When Duncan turned around and started paddling, he yelled. It drew my attention that something was wrong. We all started paddling in his direction.”
The victim was pulled from the ocean just before noon on Tuesday, north of Beacons Beach.
“It took us two to three minutes probably to get to him, another 10, 12, maybe 15 minutes to get him to the beach. He was that far out,” Schaefer said.
The surfers said they attempted to resuscitate the man while rushing him to shore.
"Got him up on the board. Kirk got on top of him, turned him around. We pounded CPR on him, all the way to the beach. Rob was giving him mouth to mouth. The rest of us were pushing and paddling," said Schaefer.
Encinitas Fire and Lifeguards took over CPR upon arrival. The victim was still in CPR status when he was transported from the scene.
Schaefer said the victim was a regular surfer at the location.
“I’ve been surfing with him for years. He’s so quiet,” Schaefer said.
The victim was transported to Scripps Encinitas Hospital, where he later died. His identity has not been released pending family notification.