Teenager Pulled From Ocean at Sunset Cliffs Dies

by on September 12, 2019 · 0 comments

in Ocean Beach

Flowers have been left near the site where a young, 15-year old boy from Sweetwater High School died Wednesday, September 11 at Sunset Cliffs. The teenager was pulled from the ocean after he had reportedly been underwater for nearly an hour.

Anthony Womack had been jumping with friends at the cliffs between Adair and Osprey streets, a favorite jumping spot, popularized on social media. The jump is at least twenty feet.

Rescuers responded after being called at 10 a.m. with a report of a teenager struggling in the water. Womack was finally found in the water after lifeguards searched on a boat and watercrafts for almost an hour. NBC7 reported:

Lifeguards were seen forming a line in the water and combing the cove floor in search of the swimmer.

“For us, the visibility was very poor, like six inches,” San Diego Lifeguard Lt. Rich Stropky said. “Like chocolate milk, and there is a lot of debris in the water.”

Lt. Stropky said an off-duty lifeguard helping with the search found the teen. When he was pulled to the surface approximately 47 minutes later he wasn’t breathing and had no pulse, Stropky said.

Womack was taken to UC San Diego Medical Center.

Sweetwater High School confirmed his death Wednesday night and sent out a letter to the school’s community, which read in part:

“It is with great sadness that we report to you the death of Anthony Womack, a 10th grade student at Sweetwater High School.”

The school also said psychologists, counselors and other resources will be available to students on campus.

NBC7 also quoted San Diego Lifeguard Lt. Rich Stropky as saying young people at times get peer pressure to make the leap at the spot. Also this:

There is an ordinance in San Diego that prohibits jumping off rocks more than 5 feet above the water. There is a sign posted informing visitors of the rule and there is also an emergency call box next to the parking lot nearby.

Last year, 13 related citations were issued in the Ocean Beach and Sunset Cliffs areas.

Stropky said extra staff was hired to patrol the cliff area during the summer but that ended on Labor Day. Had the extra staff still been there, Stropky said, Wednesday’s accident may have been prevented or at least responded to faster.

Tragically, Anthony Womack joins a long list of deaths and serious injuries at the beautiful but dangerous Sunset Cliffs: see the Survey the OB Rag has compiled of incidents since 2005 up through 2018.

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