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Two kayakers rescued off La Jolla

Lifeguards braved perilous ocean conditions Tuesday to rescue two kayakers who got stranded offshore from La Jolla on an early morning fishing outing.

Shortly after 6 a.m., the San Diego Lifeguard Service received an emergency call reporting that members of a group of about 15 kayakers were in distress in heavy seas about a mile from land, SDLS Lt. Nick Lerma said.

The agency launched a 22-foot rescue boat, and a lifeguard set out from shore on a paddleboard. Within about 20 minutes, he had rescued two men — including one, age 52, who had become separated from his canoe — and had gotten them to back shore amid “very inclement” conditions, including large waves and winds up to about 25 knots, the lieutenant said.

An ambulance crew took the man who had fallen out of his kayak to a hospital for treatment of hypothermia. The other rescued boater did not require medical attention, and all the other canoers made it back to shore safely.

The kayakers, all of them men, had set out on the ocean about 5:30 a.m. to fish for yellowtail, which have been feeding on squid around a kelp bed in the area in recent days, Lerma said.

“I guess the moral of the story from a safety perspective is don’t let your desire to fish or recreate overcome your judgment,” he added.

The Coast Guard sent a helicopter and a cutter to the area to be available to assist in the rescue effort, if necessary, according to Lerma.