SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) – It was emotional evening for rescue personnel and the families of two boys from Vallejo who were lost in the surf this afternoon off San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, a fire department spokesman said.
Rescuers called off the search at 9 p.m. for the 16-year-olds who were swept out to sea after they succumbed to a large wave that separated them from three of their friends.
The five from Vallejo had locked arms and walked into the surf as part of a day at the beach in the warm weather, fire spokesman Jonathan Baxter said.
The large wave forced the boys’ arms apart. Three were able to swim to shore are in stable condition at a hospital. One is 18 years old and the others are 17.
The first report of the missing boys came in to fire dispatchers at 4:18 p.m., Baxter said.
Fire officials sent more than 20 rescue swimmers, two jet skis and a rescue boat to the search.
The U.S. Coast Guard responded at 4:22 p.m. with two motor lifeboats and a helicopter to the water off Ocean Beach just south of the south windmill, Coast Guard Lt. Marcia Medina said.
The water at Ocean Beach was 54 degrees and ankle deep water at the beach is strong enough to pull an adult into the water, Baxter said. He said emergency officials always discourage people from swimming at the beach.
“At Ocean Beach we always have dangerous conditions” and anyone who decides to swim must be a good swimmer and aware of the ocean conditions, he said.
At 8:33 p.m., Baxter said a U.S. Coast Guard computer model showed the boys could be six to 15 miles from shore and it could be seven days before their bodies drift back.
He could not say which schools the boys attended and fire officials were not releasing the names yet.
A report of a body found at Land’s End had no merit, he said.