2018 Has Had Higher Death and Seriously Injured Rate from Sunset Cliffs than Average Year Since 2005

by on December 11, 2018 · 2 comments

in Ocean Beach

Up to now, the year 2018 has a higher death and seriously injured rate from beautiful but dangerous Sunset Cliffs than the average year since 2005.

For a number of years, the OB Rag has kept track of such tragedies as deaths and serious injuries caused by falls from the Cliffs or from the waters below. We have found that on average there have been 5 deaths or seriously injured each year since 2005.

And 2018 is already more tragic than the average year.

By our calculation from posts we have published since last January, there have been seven and possibly eight deaths or seriously injured in and around the Cliffs this year.

Number 1: January 5 – A 56-year old surfer had a heart attack while surfing near Point Loma Nazarene University.

Stan Searfus, a father of 6, and a lifeguard and surf coach for Coronado High and Coronado Middle schools, passed away after being rescued by lifeguards. From OB Rag 1/5/18 A memorial for him was held led by the Mayor of Coronado let a memorial service attended by hundreds.

Number 2: February 15 – Man Injured in Fall Off Sunset Cliffs

From OB Rag, 2/16/18   A 30-year old guy survived a fall of roughly 50 feet down the bluff – just northwest of Sunset Cliffs Natural Park near Ladera Street – where the stairs had been recently closed – around 3 a.m. Conscious when emergency rescue crews reached him, he was airlifted to a local hospital with injuries of unknown severity.

Number 3: June 14 Young Man Air-Lifted from Sunset Cliffs after Fall near Hill Street

From OB Rag   June 15, 2018   June 25, 2018

A young man had to be air-lifted by chopper from rocks at the foot of Sunset Cliffs near Hill Street after a 30 foot fall on June 14. When rescued he was reportedly bleeding from his head. (In an updated version of our initial report on this incident, we reported that the man had died – but we never were able to confirm that.)

Number 4: July 1 – 29 year old woman fell from the cliffs at No Surf Beach

A 29 year old woman fell at No Surf an estimated 25 feet and was transported by helicopter to a local hospital (UCSD Medical Center).

Number 5:  July 1- 20 year old guy fell 30 to 40 feet off the cliffs also at No Surf Beach. – Same Day as Number 4 –

From OB Rag:  July 26, 2018

Number 6: September 8Scuba Diver Dies Off Point Loma

From OB Rag  September 10, 2018

A 73-year-old scuba diver drowned while diving off the tide pool area near the sewage treatment plant in Point Loma.

Number 7: September 19 – Woman Dies at Foot of Point Loma Avenue at Sunset Cliffs

From OB Rag: September 20, 2018 ·

A woman was found dead out on a stretch of rocks off Point Loma Avenue in south Ocean Beach. About 2:30 pm, a call came in to lifeguards, reporting a woman appeared to be stuck on the rocks. But by time first responders got to her, she had already passed.

We stop here – 7 is enough. Three of the seven were deaths.

Yet those we did not count as part of the yearly toll were these:

  • November 9 – Body Found Floating in Pacific Ocean off Point Loma Avenue ; from OB Rag November 10, 2018

An unidentified body was discovered off Point Loma Avenue in Ocean Beach. According to police, the body had been in the ocean “a while”.

  • March 4-5 – Man’s Body Found After He Jumped Off Ocean Beach Pier; from OB Rag March 5, 2018

The body of as yet unidentified man was found washed ashore in Ocean Beach about 3 a.m. after he had jumped off the OB Pier around midnight.

  • January – Teen Who Nearly Drowned From Falling Off OB Pier Offers Warning

From OB Rag June 8, 2018 – A teenager who nearly drowned after falling off the Ocean Beach Pier this year thanked San Diego lifeguards for rescuing him and shared the importance of beach safety. He had been found by Lifeguards floating face down in the ocean and not breathing after falling off the OB Pier in January. By the time medics arrived, lifeguards had resuscitated him.

He said: “I am grateful, I am very grateful because if they didn’t get me I would’ve been lost for like a month.” He made a full recovery and shared some lessons at the city of San Diego’s Summer Safety event. “Just be careful the ocean is a lot more deadly than it looks; it’s a lot more powerful than you might think,” He added these tips:

  • Learn to swim and swim near a lifeguard
  • Follow the buddy system in the ocean or at city parks and lakes
  • Learn how to escape from a rip current
  • drink water and wear sunscreen on hot summer days

The OB Rag has conducted this on-going chronicle as a public service project, to make people aware of the dangers of the Cliffs and of the rocks and waters below the cliffs. This is not an advocacy for more and more fencing – it’s an advocacy for more and more public education.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Tyler December 11, 2018 at 1:10 pm

Instagram and FB will continue to help these numbers climb, unfortunately.


Frank Gormlie December 12, 2018 at 12:55 pm

Our focus has been solely along the cliffs and our chronicle does not include the OB Pier.


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