3 Rescued after Boat Capsizes off San Francisco Beach

Before rescue crews arrived, two people aided one of the boat's passengers, who was floating in the surf


 
 

Michael Cabanatuan, The San Francisco Chronicle | | Friday, January 27, 2012


SAN FRANCISCO -- Three people were pulled from the water at Ocean Beach and taken to a hospital Thursday after their boat capsized offshore around sunset.

San Francisco Fire Department rescue crews were sent to the beach near Taraval Street about 5:30 p.m., according to a dispatcher. Fire officials did not provide further information.

Before firefighters arrived, two people on the beach came to the aid of one of the boat's passengers, who was floating in the surf.

A man named Ryan, who lives in the area but did not want to give his last name, said he was taking an evening jog on the beach when he saw a woman near the surf waving her arms and noticed she was struggling to drag a man to shore. He picked the man up and carried him to shore.

Ryan stripped off the man's clothes, then his own, wrapped his clothes and arms around the man to warm his body and rubbed his arms and legs. As he tried to help the man, who was unresponsive, another body washed ashore nearby. Ryan yelled for someone to call 911.

"He was out of it," Ryan said of the man. "He was limp and lifeless. I could hear the water in his lungs as he breathed."

After about five minutes, he said, the man recovered enough to say his name. Soon, National Park Service rangers and San Francisco firefighters arrived and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the person who had washed up nearby, Ryan said. He was told that a third person came ashore elsewhere.

Fire Department officials did not return calls late Thursday night, but KCBS radio reported that the boat was a 17-foot Boston Whaler, an open-deck, fiberglass vessel with a foam-filled hull.

What caused the boat to capsize is not known, but the National Weather Service had issued a high-surf advisory for the afternoon, warning of waves of up to 15 feet, and thick fog covered the beach Thursday evening. The water temperature was about 51 degrees, according to the Weather Service.

Ryan, who went to the grocery store after the rescue and then returned to the beach, said he would like to meet the man he helped save under less urgent circumstances.

"I want to see him -- for sure," he said.



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