LAGUNA BEACH ( — A Mentone man came to the rescue when a wave forced a baby girl out of her mother’s arms and into the ocean in Laguna Beach last weekend.

Patrick Watson, 46, and his 18-year-old son, Danny, went to Aliso Beach Park, where waves were up to five feet high, to skimboard Saturday.

“The waves were up. It was a warm day, so we decided to go skimboarding,” he said.

A typical father-son day took a twist when they witnessed the strong waves knock an infant into the surf.

Watson and his son immediately ran and dove into the water, as no lifeguards were on duty.

“I was searching around, the waves were coming, the backwash, it was just complete turmoil. And I saw a flash of something go next to me,” said Watson.

Watson said he fished around and grabbed what felt like a diaper.

“At that moment, when I grabbed her, I pulled her in like a football. I was like, ‘Thank goodness, thank God, I got her!’ So I was able to push off the bottom with one foot and get her above water,” he said.

As Watson made his way to the shore, he said the baby’s mother was running toward him.

“I’ll never forget, she was looking at me like just total desperation, shaking, screaming ‘My baby.’ She had her baby. She was looking at her fingers and toes and just saying, trying to say thank you, but she was so distraught,” he said.

Watson added, “I never got her name. I never got her baby’s name. I was just more than happy to be there and help her out. When (the baby) made the first sound, when she coughed out the water, started screaming, that was just an unbelievably wonderful sound.”

Craig Brashier took pictures of the rescue. He said he hopes the incident reminds visitors at Aliso Beach how dangerous conditions can be and to not depend on lifeguards for their safety.

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