HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA.com) — GoPro video from a Huntington State Beach lifeguard showed a dramatic rescue of a frantic swimmer caught in a rip current.
Footage of the rescue showed the lifeguard paddling furiously toward a woman screaming for help.
The lifeguard gave the woman a pulley and pulled her to shore. She was one of 500 rescues in Huntington Beach last weekend.
Lifeguards say a heat wave drove huge crowds to the beach Saturday, when the video was taken.
“There was a lot of that. That was just one rescue there. That was going on all over the place with our guards,” said Lt. Claude Painis, a Huntington Beach lifeguard.
Painis says last weekend was the busiest they’ve had in years.
“People are getting swept out and our boat ended up picking up people and pulling them on board,” he said.
Most of the rescues included swimmers in waist-deep water.
“Water moving around. Next thing you know, they’re trying to get in. Next thing you know, they’re in deep water, not good swimmers and the panic button goes off,” Painis said.
This holiday weekend, lifeguards are gearing up for big crowds and waves of up to 6 feet.
“We’re expecting it to be busy. It’s going to be hot again,” he said.
Lifeguards are urging beachgoers deciding to swim to ask a lifeguard where it’s safe to do so.