After two Vallejo teens were swept out to sea at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach on Saturday, a city supervisor is calling for a hearing to determine ways to improve safety at the beach.
Supervisor Eric Mar said in a statement today that he is working with Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White and Golden Gate National Recreation Area superintendent Chris Lehnertz to improve monitoring at Ocean Beach, “especially during the growing number of heat waves that have been attracting many more people to the beach.”
“We will also be assessing and working on improving the existing signage and educational efforts on the dangers posed by the strong currents along our coastline,” Mar said.
The two teens are presumed dead. They were identified as 17-year-old Wayne Ausa and 16-year-old Grisham Duran, students at Vallejo High School with an interest in engineering.
Fire department officials said Ausa and Duran had locked arms with three of their friends and walked into the surf on Saturday afternoon, a sunny day in San Francisco.
But a wave knocked them down, forced the boys’ arms apart and dragged Ausa and Duran into the ocean. The other three managed to swim to shore and were taken to a hospital.
Firefighters and the U.S. Coast Guard responded to the beach at about 4:20 p.m., scouring the area with lifeboats, rescue swimmers and a helicopter. But they called off the search that night, fearing Ausa and Duran could have been swept miles from shore and that it could take weeks before their bodies drift back.
Currents along the shore there can be intense, powerful waves can come along at any moment, and an adult could be swept out to sea even in ankle-deep water.
Family and friends of the two boys are grappling with their sudden and tragic loss. Ausa’s older brother, Stephen Ausa, set up a GoFundMe page to get financial help for his family for the funeral and other expenses. He had raised $940 as of this morning.
The page is at https://www.gofundme.com/94znawqk.
Scott Morris, Bay City News