Lifeguards, firefighters team up to rescue youth at Windansea


A local youth trapped at Flat Rock, offshore north of the Shack at Windansea, was rescued Sunday about noon by a quick response from San Diego Lifeguard Sgt. Ed Harris with the cooperation of Fire Station 13 located near La Jolla High School.

“I was the first on the scene to a 911 call of a 13-year-old boy who had been playing truth or dare with the water and got hit by a wave and scrambled up on a rock island and got trapped,” said Harris. “Looking at it, there was no easy way of removing him without putting him into further harm’s way.”

Harris was left with a difficult choice: trying to help the cold and shivering boy scramble across the rock face before another wave hit which was iffy, or summon assistance from Engine 13.

“Together with Engine 13 we used technology, a ladder placed horizontally with a safety rope, and we had him crawl across the ladder,” Harris said. “Nothing overly spectacular, just a little bit different from what we normally do.”

Harris said it took about 20 minutes to rescue the youth. Afterwards, they called his family and drove him home.

Maurice Luque, San Diego Fire-Rescue spokesman, gave details on the incident.

“There’s an 8-foot-wide channel between large rocks that fills up and recedes, and other boys dared him to go into it,” said Luque. “After the water rushed in, he (victim) ended up on top of a 10-foot-high rock and was now stranded.”

He said the incident was instructive.

“You have to be aware of the power, strength and unpredictability of the waves and tide when they get high like this around rocks,” he concluded.