A man drowned in Oceanside during a trip to the beach with his family on Sunday despite the efforts of several good Samaritans to revive him, the Oceanside Police Department said.
When the 31-year-old man from Victorville was discovered unconscious in the Oceanside Harbor at about dusk, several people rushed to his aid, witness Alexander Ramirez said.
"We were just sitting by the bonfire and just heard someone yell and scream, 'Call 911, call 911,'" he said.
Ramirez, a CPR certified youth soccer coach, described how he and a friend jumped in to help a U.S. Marine medic who was performing chest compressions on the unresponsive man.
The Marine medic "was taking care of everything, but she was getting tired. You could tell that she was getting winded. It's hard, you know," he said. "We just started trading off, basically pumping his chest as hard as we could."
Ramirez said others were trying to help by shining their cell phone lights into the air so lifeguards could spot them. Others were holding back the crowds and some were praying.
"Just a lot of people there that cared," he said.
Despite their efforts, and the efforts from first responders, the man was pronounced dead at the scene. He has not yet been identified by authorities but OPD Sgt. Ronnie Harper said the family was visiting from Victorville.
The man was reported missing by his family hours earlier after he failed to return from a swim near lifeguard tower 4, about a half-mile north of where he was found my Ramirez.
Ramirez said it was the first time he had ever had to use his CPR certification and the entire situation was "surreal." Despite the outcome, he hopes others will consider getting certified.
"In the bigger scheme of things, it's just the fact that there were people there that were prepared, and I think the more people that have their CPR certification, it's gonna save people's lives."
Oceanside police are investigating the drowning and have not yet determined a cause.
No other information was available.
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