LAGUNA BEACH (CBSLA) – A snorkler died after being pulled from the water off Laguna Beach Saturday morning.
The victim was pulled unconscious from the water at 1,000 Steps Beach by Orange County lifeguards sometime before 11:30 a.m.
Officials said the 52-year-old victim — now identified as Brian Riggs of Aliso Viejo — went into full cardiac arrest.
He received treatment on the beach before being airlifted to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo where he was declared dead, officials said.
CBS2’s Adrianna Weingold said authorities are urging even the most experienced swimmers to be careful in the high tides and surf.
Saturday evening, surf in some places was as high as 7 feet. Orange County was under a coastal flood advisory.
“Today the waves are massive,” said Roy Desousa of Las Vegas. “We’ve been watching the news the last couple of days and they’ve been getting bigger and bigger.”
In addition to the snorkler who died Saturday, officials said another man was pulled out of the high surf Friday. That man is expected to be okay.
The Orange County Fire Authority’s Captain Steve Concialdi said both men were in their 50s. strong swimmers but made the mistake of swimming alone.
The man who died today was the 16th person to drown in Orange County this year, including beaches and pools, Concialdi said.
He said over half the fatalities involved people over 50 and many alone.
“When something happened to them,” Concialdi said, “there was no one there to help. [The two previous victims] wee found face down in the water and unconscious.”
Even seasoned swimmers are looking at the surf and deciding not to go in.
“Absolutely not,” said Jordan Woodrum of Santa Barbara, “I’d be scared to break my neck.”