A 64-year-old man visiting San Diego died on Wednesday after attempting to rescue his dogs from the high surf.
According to San Diego County’s Medical Examiner Office, Gregg Owens, who was visiting from Nevada, was walking along Ocean Beach with his wife and their dogs when a large wave pulled the dogs into the ocean at around 1:45 p.m. Owens attempted to rescue his pets, but was overcome by the heavy surf. He was dragged 75 yards before slamming into the rock jetty. Although lifeguards quickly entered the water and attempted a rescue, it took about 20 minutes before they found him floating face down.
“The victim was in the rocks at the jetty, so extricating the victim out of the rocks and contending with the high surf, getting him to the beach, and CPR initiated right off the bat [was difficult],” Sgt. Bruce Jamieson, a San Deigo Lifeguard on the scene told Fox 5 reporters.
According to Jamie Chambers, a San Diego journalist, lifeguards were able to regain Owens’ pulse. “This team of rescuers might have just gotten the save of the year,” he wrote on Instagram. “Pulling a lifeless man out of double-over-head-surf. The victim was stuck in the rocks and these crazy rescuers put their lives on the line to free him, then performed solid CPR. The man now has a pulse and is on a respirator.”
Sadly, shortly after he was pulled from the water, he was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. The victim was a paramedic for over a decade in Sterling, Virginia, before he and his family moved to Henderson, Nevada. According to Fox 5, a bystander was able to bring the dog safely back to the beach.