San Francisco

Friends Mourn Loss of 2 Vallejo Teenagers Swept Into ‘Dangerous’ Water at Ocean Beach

Friends of two East Bay teens lost in the surf off San Francisco's Ocean Beach were in shock Sunday.

Rescuers called off the search at 9 p.m. Saturday for the 16-year-olds from Vallejo — one of whom was identified by his brother as Wayne Ausa — who were swept out to sea after they succumbed to a large wave that separated them from three of their friends. 

"We have indicated to [the family] what our course of action will be and that will be suspending the search at dark," said Capt. Gregory Stump of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Ausa and the second victim, whose identity has not yet been confirmed by officials or family members, were both juniors at Vallejo High School where they attended the Engineering Academy, said friends, who plan to hold a vigil next Saturday.

The five friends from Vallejo had locked arms and walked into the surf as part of a day at the beach in the warm weather, fire spokesman Jonathan Baxter said.

The large wave forced the boys' arms apart.

Three were able to swim to shore are in stable condition at a hospital. One is 18 years old and the others are 17. Ausa and Duran weren't as fortunate.

"They were very distressed ... in shock," said Bouchra Simmons of San Francisco. "It was very heartbreaking to see them in that state."

The first report of the missing boys came in to fire dispatchers at 4:18 p.m., Baxter said. Fire officials sent more than 20 rescue swimmers, two jet skis and a rescue boat to the search.

The U.S. Coast Guard responded at 4:22 p.m. with two motor lifeboats and a helicopter to the water off Ocean Beach just south of the south windmill, Coast Guard Lt. Marcia Medina said.

The water at Ocean Beach was 54 degrees and ankle deep water at the beach is strong enough to pull an adult into the water, Baxter said. He said emergency officials always discourage people from swimming at the beach.

"At Ocean Beach, we always have dangerous conditions" and anyone who decides to swim must be a good swimmer and aware of the ocean conditions, he said.

"What makes this difficult is these individuals entered the water right when the tides were shifting, which means for Ocean Beach we have a really strong rip current," Baxter said.

At 8:33 p.m., Baxter said a U.S. Coast Guard computer model showed the boys could be six to 15 miles from shore and it could be seven days before their bodies drift back.

A report of a body found at Land's End had no merit.

"It’s a horrible, horrible situation," Simmons said. "It's really going to break my heart."

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