With cleanup expected to continue Friday after a sailboat crashed into the pilings of the Redondo Beach Pier, witnesses recounted with amazement the survival of four people who were sent into the wind-driven waves around sunset Thursday.
High onshore winds pushed the sailboat closer and closer to pier, multiple witness videos of the 7 p.m. crash showed. A large wave finally overturned the vessel, dumping the four occupants into the choppy waters of of King Harbor.
"A wave came ... it broadsided them, it threw all the people out. ... If it weren't for the pier, they would have been hurt badly because the next wave took the boat into the pier and smashed it in half," said witness Tommy Smith. "The lifeguards were right on them, pretty quick. The guys were so lucky, it was unbelievable."
The boat slammed against the pilings and righted itself but eventually broke apart.
Employees at Tony's on the Pier, a restaurant with a close-up view of the harbor, saw the crash quickly unfold through windows onto the water.
"The current was pretty intense because they couldn't get out of the water," said worker Alejandro Ruiz. "The boat hit the pillars a couple of times and it cracked in half and it sunk. ... I've never seen anything like that."
Authorities said they expected to recover the wreckage on Friday.
All four people were rescued after Los Angeles County lifeguards, Harbor Patrol and Redondo Beach firefighters responded.
The condition of the four rescued boaters on Friday was not clear, but their injuries had not been serious.
Smith, a bartender at Tony's on the Pier, said he thought the wind speed had risen from 12 to 15 knots when the boaters went out to about 25 to 30 knots when they crashed.
"I was shocked that nobody got hurt," he said.
The #Losangelescounty #coastline was hit by some strong gusty winds yesterday afternoon that resulted in 2 #boatdistress incidents. One sailing vessel was thrown into the #redondobeachpier by an oncoming wave which resulted in 4 persons #overboard . The second sailing vessel #capsized in the main channel of #marinadelrey which resulted in 2 persons overboard. All victims in both incidents were wearing their #lifejacket and all victims were successfully #rescued . Let this be a lesson that lifejackets #save lives . The @lacolifeguards want to remind all boaters to always wear a #lifejacket, always check your local #ocean and #weather forecasts, and develop a float plan before heading out to sea. In addition, the @uscg urges boaters to exercise caution when heavy weather is predicted and ensure personal vessels are properly secured at all times. For more information regarding safe boating please visit the website below: http://www.uscgboating.org #knowbeforeyougo @redondobeachfirefighters @redondopier #rescueboatoperations #safetyfirst #boatsafety #lifeguard @foxla #redondobeachharborpatrol #LACounty @lacountyfd #mariners #sailors #sailing @ktla5news @abc7la @nbcla #boataccident 🎥: Jason Wells @singularitycode