Earlier this year, a young boy was swept out to sea along the San Mateo County coast. Now, his family is behind some changes that could be the difference between a drowning or a rescue.
Life ring stations containing floatation devices and 150 feet of dispensable rope have been installed at Mavericks Beach and Surfers Beach. The idea to install the life-saving devices came about following the tragic drowning of 12-year old Arunay Pruthi of Fremont in January.
"Hopefully these first three stations that have been installed will save lives and will inspire other communities along the coast to do something similar," Sea Valor CEO Eric Jones said.
The project was started by the county harbor district and the nonprofit Sea Valor following Pruthi's death. The boy was caught by a sneaker wave at Cowell State Beach while on a family trip. Witnesses tried forming a human chain to save him.
"This equipment, I believe, would have had a great help for some of us to actually go there, get him, hold him, and so on and so forth," family friend Sanjeev K said. "We just couldn’t go deep enough to where he was simply because the waves were just too much and we didn’t have any floatation devices."
Tarun Pruthi, the boy's father, said the family has started a foundation to support life-saving stations and spread awareness of ocean safety.
"The hope obviously is that this equipment is never used, but if it is, if it can save one more life, then it’s served its purpose," he said.
The harbor district said installing the life-saving stations was delayed over permits and property issues, but those have since been resolved. The district said it hopes to start installing the devices at other county and state beaches soon.