Four rescued from waters off Ocean Beach

It is still unclear why four people in the water off Ocean Beach had to be rescued Wednesday evening.

Spokesman Howard Levitt told CBS-SF that U.S. Park Police, the Coast Guard and the Fire Department all received a call a little after 5:30 p.m. yesterday that there were four people in the water in need of assistance.

KTVU reported witnesses said the group appeared to be a family, with two kids and two adults.

By the time the Coast Guard arrived on the scene, lifeguards had already rescued the four individuals, Coast Guard officials said.

Ocean Beach Bulletin republished excerpts of an account of the rescue published on forum thread at local surf site Stoke Report. User “madraz” wrote that he was stirred into action:

“It was obvious they were caught in a rip and I hesitated before going in knowing how dangerous OB can be. Turned out there was another guy who waded out to help and got himself in trouble also.”

Madraz’ stirring description of the rescue almost didn’t have a happy ending. At one point, he describes how another man who had swam out to assist ended up needing to be rescued himself.

Another poster named “offshores” claimed to have seen the rescued people in the water before trouble unfolded:

“The two kids were playing in the surf up to their knees in the water. I almost walked over to the guy who I assumed to be their dad who was standing on the shore to tell him about rip tides. … Now I wish I would have said something.”

Rip tides and undertow at Ocean Beach can be perilously strong, especially for young children or weak swimmers. Never go into the ocean alone and never take your eyes off the water and your companions.

This is hardly the first rescue call that the Coast Guard has received this year. In April, the Guard saved two sailors from a yacht a couple miles into the Pacific Ocean that experienced steering failure after colliding with a large wave. In March, a man was rescued after his boat capsized in the Bay.

Levitt called Wednesday’s event “a successful rescue,” though information about the four individuals who were rescued has yet to be released.