Surfers, beachgoers rescued amid tsunami advice at SF’s Ocean Beach

When John Baxter, the public information officer for the San Francisco Fire Department, received a call Saturday morning, Tsunami advice The first thing he did to coastal California, including parts of the Bay Area, was look out the window of his house, about a mile and a half from Ocean Beach.

After making sure his family, pets and belongings were safe, he climbed onto the roof with a pair of binoculars in hand and watched the beach.

“I didn’t see what I saw in Hollywood, I didn’t see a big wave coming towards us or anything,” Baxter said.


But that does not mean there are no dangers. Despite the size of the waves – according to the National Weather Service, it reached a height of one foot to two feet in San Francisco, while flooding parts of the Pacifica and Santa Cruz, causing even Chockwell Creek. Flowing backwards – He knew what was going on beneath the surface of the water.

“It really happens, the rise of water with a lot of power,” he said. “We do not see what’s beneath it. It’s a very long torn current.”

Ocean Beach was spotted during a tsunami alert issued after the January 15, 2022 eruption of Tonga in San Francisco.

Anatolia Agency / Anatolu Agency via Getty Images

A team of first responders, including firefighters, park rangers and police, went to Ocean Beach, China Beach and Embarkatoro to explain what was happening and encourage people to get out of the water while PA systems Posted similar news. Eight rescue swimmers on duty reported to Ocean Beach that day.

It is not within the purview of the fire department as a response agency, Baxter said.

“But we felt the need for a visual presence due to the onset of the tsunami,” he said. “We’m all human beings. Some of us think, ‘We need to go to the beach and see what’s going on there.’ At the end of the day, some people make good decisions, some make bad decisions. Our job is not to judge, but to minimize injury.

This is the right move: Baxter said about 200 people came to Ocean Beach between 7am and 6pm. The first responders helped about 25 people whom they believed needed help getting out of the ankle or knee deep water. They approached dozens of people with surfboards, boogie boards and beachwear in the sand, encouraging them to return and spend another day tomorrow.

Rescue swimmers have rescued three surfers from the Kellys Temple who decided to challenge the swelling of the waves from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Baxter said a surfboard was broken by the impact of the waves. It was not safe for the swimmers to return to shore, so the surfers were airlifted to the coast of China, about a mile and a half away, with the help of a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter.

Although they were terrified in the cold water, three surfers – a woman and two men – survived and did not require medical care beyond the assessments made by paramedics at the scene.

“Our rescue swimmers said they were very appreciative and grateful. As a rescue swimmer, I can say that a person is usually very tired from that event and you can tell they’m glad they were saved, “said Baxter.

Some of the rescue swimmers were sent by the San Francisco Fire Department to Ocean Beach.

Some of the rescue swimmers were sent by the San Francisco Fire Department to Ocean Beach.

San Francisco Fire Department / Twitter

“You have to understand that we don’t usually recover surfers,” he added. “Usually people go into the water for the first time. All of these are experienced surfers who have been tested and gone out … how aggressive the waves were.

When the tsunami alert was lifted for San Francisco just before 8pm, Baxter said he felt “a big sigh of relief”.

“I think about the message in our community and the lives saved by strong public safety,” he said. “All of these people worked together with the right information at the right time. I think it saved lives not only in San Francisco, but throughout the state of California.

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