Lifeguards searched through thick ocean foam for nearly 40 minutes while looking for one of two women who were swept into the ocean by a wave Saturday night.
The wave broke on the cliffs in Ocean Beach, near Santa Cruz Avenue and Bacon Street where a group of people were attempted to enjoy the sunset.
“It was horrible,” said Janis Ambrosioni. She was sitting next to the two women on the cliffs. “We just watched them get washed away and it was nothing you could do.”
A man, who lifeguards are calling a hero, jumped in, saved one woman, but when he tried to go back and save the second, the woman was taken out by the current. The man, who wants to go by his last name, Struble, said he was taking pictures of the view alongside Ambrosioni, and in a matter of seconds, “They went out right over there right off the edge."
He explained, “I ran back and forth and when she got close enough and I went out and I picked her up.” One woman was taken to hospital but the second woman continued to get lost in the foam. “I tried to go back for the second one, but I couldn’t get there in time because the waves just got too big and she got too far out.”
Shortly after the first rescue, lifeguards and the San Diego Fire Department arrived to the cliffs. Lieutenant Rick Romero explained it was difficult to spot the second woman caught in the current. “We did see her, but in the amount of the time, the surge was coming in and out she’d appear and then disappear in the foam,” said Lt. Romero. Lifeguards noted the water was 58 degrees, waves up to 15 feet high with two feet of foam.
Lifeguards successfully rescued the woman after 40 minutes.
Both women were taken to a hospital. At this time their condition is unclear. Two lifeguards were also taken to a hospital, as a precautionary measure.