HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA) — Jake Hamitt teaches wounded war heores how to surf. Now, he needs help himself.
The Army special operator and recent amputee lost his prosthetic leg during a surfing session Saturday afternoon north of the Huntington Beach Pier.
Hamitt is the ambassador for Operation Surf that teaches wounded war heroes how to surf.
“We were paddling out. Waves were pretty good. Just catching a few waves…my leg was getting loose,” Hamitt recalled. “Leg came off. I didn’t have leash on my board. Five hundred plus people on the beach right there. So I made a decision. If the board hits someone or some little kid or lose the leg. Grabbed the board. Leg came off. Went back to try to find it. It sunk real fast.”
Marine Safety Lt. Claude Panis spent two hours free diving, looking for the leg but came up empty-handed.
The carbon fiber prosthetic limb weighs about seven pounds.
“If someone finds it, that will be great. If they don’t, you move on. That’s life,” Hamitt said.
Anyone who comes across the leg is asked to turn it in to the lifeguards. If not, Hamitt said he will replace it.