Lifeguards rescued a 10-year-old boy at Venice Beach while an ongoing underwater search for a man believed to be his father was suspended Sunday evening, authorities said.
Los Angeles County Fire Department crews were called to the beach along the 4200 block of Ocean Front Walk shortly before 4 p.m. to help L.A. County Lifeguards with reports of two missing swimmers. They swam out to rescue a group of swimmers caught in “strong rip currents,” said Pono Barnes, an ocean lifeguard specialist with the county’s fire department.
“The group was pulled out by that rip current,” Barnes said.
The child was found and evaluated and didn’t require hospitalization, LAFD said in an alert.
But Barnes said lifeguards were unable to save another one of the swimmers struggling in the currents, who was “submerged” underwater.
From there, lifeguards upgraded their rescue efforts to a “full-dive response,” Barnes said.
The U.S. Coast Guard assisted in the search for the man in his 30s. Crews searched underwater while an L.A. County Fire Department chopper flew overhead. LAFD paramedics remained on standby.
But shortly before 8 p.m., LAFD said underwater search efforts were called off for the night.
“It’s ineffective, and it’s not very safe to dive during nighttime hours,” Barnes said.
The department said lifeguards will continue “land-based patrols” in the area while diving efforts will resume at 7 a.m. on Monday.
According to Barnes, as beaches reopen but parking lots remain closed, some visitors are showing up in areas not usually frequented by the public and not as close to lifeguard towers. He said some beachgoers should take extra precautions to stay safe.
“If you’re not familiar with the beach, or you don’t come here very often, check in with a lifeguard and they’ll be able to put you in a really safe area,” Barnes said.