REDONDO BEACH (AP) — A large wave swept four people off a Los Angeles County jetty as high surf pounded much of the California coast, leaving one man dead and his three companions seriously injured, authorities said.
Redondo Beach firefighters responded late Wednesday after witnesses reported people in the water calling for help at King Harbor.
Rescuers pulled two men and two women from the waves at the base of the rock jetty, said the city’s Fire Department Operations Chief Mark Winter. One man was dead at the scene. The three others were hospitalized in serious condition.
It wasn’t clear why the group was on the rocks late at night, but people routinely fish there, according to Winter. He said the surf this week was especially high and people were warned to stay away.
“You get one wave every three or four minutes,” Winter told the Daily Breeze newspaper (http://bit.ly/21jXCpS). “They feel they can get out and that’s just not the case.”
A wave knocked a Harbor Patrol officer into the water during the rescue. He was not hurt.
In San Diego, a large section of a cliff collapsed onto Ocean Beach below Wednesday afternoon. The parking lot by Sunset Cliffs had been fenced off as chunks of sandstone had been sloughing off the cliff face last week, part of a natural erosion process intensified by the winter storms.
The National Weather Service said the high surf subsided by Thursday night, but warned that a similar pattern will return to the California coast Friday. Beachgoers were warned of dangerous waves, rip currents and possibly minor flooding.
Waves just to the north and south of San Francisco could hit 11 feet, while sets topping 18 feet are expected along the Central Coast. Waves from 5 feet to 12 feet are predicted from Los Angeles to San Diego.
The cause is a large swell generated by a storm off Northern California.
Authorities say swimmers should watch the waves before entering the water or ask lifeguards for advice.
Meanwhile, Southern California’s winter heat wave continues due to a high pressure ridge. Downtown Los Angeles hit 83 degrees on Thursday.