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Teen Still Critical After Tennessee Beach Rescue

National Park Service officials warn against swimming at Tennessee Beach after Wednesday incident.

A 17-year-old girl remains in critical condition this morning after she was rescued along with two other teens from the waters near Tennessee Beach on Wednesday evening, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The teenager and three other friends were attempting to climb to Tennessee Cove around 5:45 p.m. when a large wave knocked three of them off a rock into the water, Golden Gate National Recreation Area spokeswoman Alexandra Picavet said.

The 17-year-old was swept out the furthest and was struggling against a rip current when a Petaluma man in his 40s dived into the water to bring her closer to shore, Picavet said.

"Unfortunately, the good Samaritan needed our help since he was in a precarious place that was unsafe because of the currents and waves," she said.

The Coast Guard sent a helicopter from Air Station San Francisco, which arrived within 20 minutes, along with a 47-foot motor lifeboat from Station Golden Gate.

A rescue swimmer was lowered from the helicopter to administer first aid to the girl. The Southern Marin Fire Protection District also assisted with the rescue.

A California Highway Patrol helicopter then transported the teen to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, where she remains in critical condition as of about 11:30 a.m. today, Coast Guard Lt. Chris Hanzlick said.

The two other teenagers swept into the water, a boy and a girl, were also taken to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries, Picavet said.

It appears the four teens, who range in age from 17 to 18 years old, were not trying to swim in the water, she said. The National Park Service lists Tennessee Beach as not suitable for swimming.

"If you try to cross through to the cove, you need to know what the tide is doing," Picavet said. "It isn't an easy place to get out of if tide

While the National Park Service applauds the efforts of the good Samaritan, Picavet warns beachgoers about his brave actions.

"It's very dangerous, unless you're trained," she said. "He definitely helped this patient. We're not encouraging people to do this, though."

For beachgoers looking to get wet, Picavet recommends Stinson Beach, which is approved by the National Park Service for swimming and employs lifeguards.

— Bay City News

William Bertram January 10, 2013 at 11:11 AM
In 1985, I found myself in this same position as this 'Samaritan'. Around the corner from the main beach is a rarely accessible and slightly more treacherous stretch of beach where a young gal in her early 20's came running around the point at the very wrong time and was smashed into the cliff face by a medium size but fast-moving wave. Being at the far end of the other beach a friend and I had to run about 300 feet to get to her. We dropped down into the water and the rip was incredible. Fortunately, another big wave wave washed us back up the beach a ways. We got pulled in and spit out several times. It still took almost 4 minutes to get back up to dry sand as the wet sand is much like quicksand the slope down very steep with water both coming and going at the same time. We were finally able to drag her toward the treacherous side to recover somewhat as getting back to the main beach was impossible unless you could run it. Being in that water is terrifying, as those currents literally OWN your ability to move within them. Even the best swimmers have died at Tennessee Valley beach and I highly recommend giving those waves a LOT of space!~

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