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Good Samaritan saves one swimmer caught in riptide; a second dies

January 3, 2012 |  8:10 am


A high-surf advisory is in effect along the Southern California coast through Saturday, and a dangerous riptide has taken the life of at least one swimmer, officials said Tuesday.

A good Samaritan pulled a Huntington Beach swimmer caught in a riptide to safety but was unable to rescue his friend, officials said.

Patrick Kneebone was watching the sunset off the Pacific Coast Highway on Monday when he spotted two swimmers struggling in the water. He called 911. 

Police told him to wait for lifeguards and firefighters to arrive. Kneebone jumped into the water to help the two men.

"I took my clothes off and pulled one guy in," Kneebone told KTLA-TV. "I struggled to get the guy in. He was fighting me because he wanted to save his friend and I made him come to the shore."

Paramedics arrived and treated the man at the scene. He was taken to Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach.

A helicopter crew searched the waters for two hours before the body of the second swimmer, 26-year-old William Griffith, was recovered. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities said the frigid ocean water and the rough surf were a deadly combination. 

The National Weather Service issued a high-surf advisory for Tuesday through Saturday. Swells between six and 10 feet are expected to hit the coast of Ventura and Los Angeles counties.


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