Man Caught In Riptide Drowns At Zuma Beach; Several Others Rescued

MALIBU (CNS/FOX 11) - Authorities identified a man who drowned at Zuma Beach Sunday when he became caught in a riptide in high surf and slipped under the waves.

The victim was identified as Jose Garcia, 28, of Sun Valley, coroner's Assistant Chief Ed Winter said.

Garcia was spotted about 3:45 p.m. Sunday in distress near lifeguard Tower 9 in waist- to chest-high water amid 5- to 7-foot waves, Kenichi Haskett, ocean lifeguard captain with the Los Angeles County Fire Department's Lifeguard Division, said.

Haskett said Garcia lost contact with the bottom and began flailing as lifeguards closed in on him, but he slipped beneath the surface and could not be found.

A sheriff's helicopter crew spotted him about 5:05 p.m., and lifeguards pulled him from the water, according to Haskett.

Despite resuscitation efforts, county fire paramedics pronounced him dead about 5:15 p.m., Haskett said.

Lifeguards rescued three other people from the Zuma Beach surf while the search and recovery effort was taking place, Haskett said.

"The surf is really big and the currents are really strong,'' said on Sunday. "Today is not a good day for beginners.''

He said those taking to the water should check in with a lifeguard, swim within their abilities, and stay in front of a manned lifeguard tower.

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