SEASIDE — The waves at Seaside beaches were high late Tuesday afternoon when a mother and her 14-year-old daughter went missing in the surf.
“It was a mess, we were having squalls at the time,” City Manager Mark Winstanley said. “The tide was going out and going out hard.”
When the two drifted too far into the water off the beach near Avenue S, Seaside Fire and Rescue was called after the pair had not been seen for several minutes. Without a distinct reference point, lifeguards Shara Ford, Sam Whisler, Ben Hamar and David Rankin entered the ocean at the point thy were last seen. They pair was found three blocks south on the outside breakers.
The mother and daughter, who were visiting extended family from Utah, both had mild hypothermia. One was taken to the hospital for further evaluation, according to David Rankin, division operations chief of Seaside Fire Department.
“Our fire department continues to have very dedicated lifeguards and firefighters — many of whom are volunteers — who have put in a lot of time over the last couple of years training for ocean rescues in addition to all the other fire, rescue, and emergency medical training we are required to do,” Rankin said.
“It was a cooperative effort between the lifeguards and the rest of the fire department, in addition to Medix Ambulance in responding to the incident and getting both victims out of the water and to the ambulance safely,” Rankin said. “Ocean rescues are typically chaotic, fast-paced emergencies with minimal information and are manpower intensive.”
By Thursday afternoon, the Seaside Fire Department’s Facebook page was filled with appreciation. “You guys rock,” said Seaside High School grad Sharon Mowick. “Thank you for all your service.”
Others echoed the sentiments.
“It’s difficult to find people once they’ve been washed off the beach,” Winstanley said Thursday. “If you see lifeguards, you might say ‘thank you’ to them. Their jobs are not just picking up trash. Every summer they end up doing beach rescues, and this is one where people would probably have lost their lives.”