Fire department rescue swimmers saved a man from drowning in the cold waters of San Francisco’s Ocean Beach early Saturday morning, according to spokesperson Jonathan Baxter.
The victim, a still unidentified 55-year-old man, was walking along the rocks near Sutro Baths when a large wave hit him and pulled him into the ocean. Multiple onlookers who called police said the man was clinging to the rocks under Cliff House restaurant after the fall, but he was then knocked off when a second wave came and forced him 50 yards into the turbulent surf.
Emergency and medical crew arrived at the scene about 12 minutes after receiving the calls, Baxter said. The fire department dispatched 13 units, a rescue boat and two specialized surf rescue vehicles.
Rescue swimmer Jeffery Christian of Engine 34 was the first to reach the man, who was found face down in the waters, according to fire officials.
Firefighters started advanced life saving techniques on the slopes of the rocks off Ocean Beach's shoreline. A SFFD Medic unit then rushed the man to the hospital, where he remains in critical condition.
Doctors are optimistic that he will recover, Baxter said.