Firefighters, lifeguards, Coast Guard and others all played a hand in saving surfers


Posted by on Mon, June 13, 2005

HMB Fire District
The Coast Guard airlifted one stranded surfer and his rescuers from the rocks to the beach at Gray Whale Cove. Click on the image for a larger version of this dramatic picture.

In an exciting water rescue involving multiple agencies, stranded surfers were rescued by lifeguards, firefighters, and a Coast Guard helicopter at Gray Whale Cove Sunday evening.

The Pacifica and Half Moon Bay Fire Departments got the call at 5:28pm. En-route, the HMB Fire Department called in the Coast Guard, San Mateo County Harbor Patrol, California State Parks lifeguards, and water rescue swimmers from the Half Moon Bay Fire District.

Firefighters found two surfers in distress at the south end of the cove, one in the water being swept around the south point, and one on the rocks.

A team of two state parks lifeguards (Eric Abma and James Nothhelfer)  swam to the victims, guided by fire personnel on the cliff. They were got the victim in the water onto the beach.

The surfer on the rocks was saved and pulled onto the rocks by Anthony Fontaine of San Francisco who found himself trapped on the rocks by the surf. A firefighter/paramedic from the Pacifica Fire Dept. made his way across the rocks to them and stabilized the victim.

A Coast Guard helicopter from San Francisco airlifted victims and rescuers on the rocks to the beach for further care by firefighters.

Two victims were transported by ambulance to Peninsula Hospital with minor injuries.

NOTE: This account was based on a press release from HMBFD.

When will people learn, Grey Whale and Montara are heavy and sometimes dangerous surf spots. So many guys come down from the city and paddle out when us locals would not think of it. Let’s not forget the bodysurfer who sadly lost his life not so long ago at Montara in heavy storm surf. I hope no one else pays the ultimate price for a foolish paddle out on a day when they should stay on dry land. Let’s be careful out there.

I would like to add my admiration and thanks to the guys who selfishly lay their own lives on the line to rescue those who get into trouble in the water. You guys rock.