MALIBU (CBSLA.com) — Six people were rescued Sunday after their kayaks had been blown out to sea during high swells.
According to the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the kayakers were found around 8:30 a.m. off Ventura County Beach, just past Leo Carillo State Beach.
Wind gusts in the area were reportedly 50 miles per hour at the time of their rescue.
A Good Samaritan boater told CBS2/KCAL9’s Louisa Hodge what happened out at sea.
“The winds came up 40 to 50 miles an hour and I could not even see 10 feet,” said George Sisino, who barely had enough time to get his fishing boat to shore. “And the waves were so consistent I didn’t think I was going to make it, because there was so much weight and the boat was full of water because the waves kept coming over.”
In the midst of his own struggles, Sisino noticed an overturned yellow kayak.
“And then I see these arms back and forth. So I went over and picked the guy up, and he was going down. So, I grabbed him and I pull him into the boat. And he was in shock,” Sisino said.
Fishing boats in the area blocked at least two of the kayaks to prevent them from drifting before lifeguards were able to tow them back to shore.
“The most challenging part was the communications. We weren’t really sure how many people we were looking for, just that multiple kayaks were in the water,” a lifeguard told Hodge.
Six kayakers were rescued. They were taken to shore, wrapped in blankets and some were treated for possible hypothermia.
No injuries were reported.
“If they hadn’t been spotted by the people on the beach saying ‘Hey, this looks like a problem,’ this probably would have resulted in some more serious conditions,” the lifeguard said.
Sisino said the kayaker he saved was aware things could have ended tragically: “He said, ‘Thank God. I knew I was going to die if you didn’t come. You saved my life. You saved my life.'”
Lifeguards said several hours later they rescued four stand-up paddle boarders who were also facing challenges from the wind.