Surfers and water-skiers came to the rescue of a sailing school of children after their boats were capsized by a massive swell of 25ft ‘king tides’ at the mouth of Santa Cruz Harbor in .
The 12 children from Santa Cruz Yacht Club, aged between 7 and 12 years old, were taking part in a lesson on Sunday afternoon and were on their way to shore when turbulent waves caused their vessels to overturn, washing them overboard.
Water ski units from the marine rescue teams and local surfers sprang into action to save the party of 12 little boats, after receiving a 911 call from a passerby who had spotted them in trouble.
A video taken from the beach by a concerned passer-by captures the boats swaying on the waves before being knocked sideways and over, to gasps of distress from onlookers.
The 12 boats from the Santa Cruz Yacht Club set out to Monterey Bay on Sunday afternoon for the first lesson of a six-week course for beginner sailors
Marine rescue units and local surfers sprang into action to rescue the children after the boats began to topple over ‘like dominoes’, throwing the school kids into the ocean
They had been returning to the mouth of Santa Cruz Harbor when they got into trouble from a massive swell caused by 25ft ‘king tides’
Water ski units from the marine rescue team in Santa Cruz, pictured, had already been deployed as a result of high tide warnings caused by storms in the Pacific Ocean
After pulling the children out the water the rescue teams tugged the children’s capsized boats back to shore
Anna Ritter, who saw the boats from the beach, said: ‘Sail school was coming in and the white water just tumbled them and they were just like dominoes flying through the water’, as reported by CBS SF Bay Area.
Among the young sailors was Linden DesJardins, 12, who was celebrating the first of her six-week beginning sailing class, after taking lessons on and off since last summer.
Linden said they were being ‘being tossed around’ even as they began the lesson in Monterey Bay earlier that day.
‘The waves were big out there’, she told Lookout Santa Cruz.
As the waves got higher she began to ‘kind of freak’.
‘We’ve never had waves like this in sailing’, she said.
As the party returned and the boats got into trouble, she remembers her instructor and nearby surfers urging her to leap into the ocean, to avoid being sucked under the boat if it it capsized, like those of her friends.
She jumped, losing a shoe.
‘It was scary and it was very, very stressful,’ Linden said.
She was scooped up by a surfer- possibly named Sean- who reassured her everything would be ok.
‘We would like to find Sean,’ Liz DesJardins, Linden’s stepmom, said.
Surfers saved a total of five children, pulling them onto their boards and paddling them safely to shore.
Santa Cruz County Fire Battalion Chief Daniel Kline, pictured, said they had ‘upstaffed’ on the coast due to the incoming swell and so were able to respond quickly to the 911 call
Marc DesJardins, Linden’s dad, said that he found the sailing program to be very professional in the past but that he was ‘a little surprised that they went out past the harbor mouth.’
Santa Cruz County Fire Battalion Chief Daniel Kline said the calls reporting the capsized boats and people in the water came in at 4:33 p.m.
Concerned officials had already posted additional patrols along the waterfront, including two water-ski units – after receiving warnings of a swell stirred up by storms out in the Pacific Ocean, that could cause ‘king tides’; large waves up to 25ft high.
Santa Cruz Fire Department were on scene quickly to aid with the rescue of the sailing school
Fire chiefs said that none of the children were injured and made it safely back to their parents
‘With the high swell advisories that we had upstaffed a bit,’ he said.
‘When the call came in today, we had 2 skis in the water already.’
Their preparations enabled them to respond swiftly to the call and, with the help of local surfers, pull the children safely out of the 50F water.
‘No injuries, Kline added.
‘Except for some wet, cold kids that needed to be handed back to their parents.’
The ages of the children are not all known, but Kline said at least one was between 7 and 8 years old.
While a tragedy was avoided in Santa Cruz, a search was underway for a woman swept out to sea at Pescadero State Beach while she was searching for mussels on rocks on the shoreline with her husband.