14-year-old boy pulled from water at Crissy Field dies

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A 14-year-old boy who was pulled from the water at a beach near Crissy Field has died. San Francisco Fire Department confirms the boy was submerged in the water for about an hour and 20 minutes before rescue divers could reach him on Monday.   

Rescuers performed CPR on the unidentified drowning victim after he was located in the murky waters at Crissy Field's East Beach, where there are no lifeguards present. 

SFFD Lieutenant Jonathan Baxter said the teen, who reportedly did not know how to swim, and a group of six to seven friends went into the water to cool off around 2 p.m.

It was a day of record-breaking heat in San Francisco with temperatures well into the upper 90s. 

When the boy became submerged, fire officials said that's when he started having trouble.

Baxter said though the group he was with was only wading in waist-deep water a few feet from the shore, that they were unable to find him once the boy went under. 

“These kids did everything right for a group of kids that are about 14 to 15 years old. They tried to rescue him, they realized they couldn’t. They realized their limits. They got out of the water. They called 911, they called their family. They stayed on scene,” Baxter said.       

Baxter said all the measures they took helped rescue crews pinpoint the exact location of the boy. Boats, jet skis, divers and a ladder high above, all scanned for the child who slipped away. 

"A rescue diver located the boy underwater in low visibility about 25 yards offshore," Baxter said.  At around 3:30 p.m., the boy was recovered from the cloudy, 15-foot-deep water.  

The diver brought the boy to the surface and then immediately began life-saving measures, according to Baxter. 

Paramedics, U.S. Park Police Department, U.S. Park Rangers, U.S. Coast Guard, and SFFD all aided in what was described as “aggressive” life-saving measures, rotating personnel out every minute to do chest compressions on the boy. 

“This is a drowning. The water is about 61 degrees, so we’re not looking at hypothermia," Baxter said. "We needed to be aggressive and give this child every potential chance of life that we could.”

The boy did not have a cardiac rhythm as medics continued to perform CPR on the way to California Pacific Medical Center Hospital. 

The boy's parents and siblings were at the scene, along with a translator, as the boy was being transported.

"They were here when we located him in the water and they were here when we loaded him onto the ambulance, and they were able to be with their son at the hospital during the resuscitation efforts and the pronouncement of death," Baxter said. 

Crisis intervention workers were on hand to support those who were in need. 

East Beach's parking area has reopened after a brief closure. All areas of the beach remain open and are accessible to the public. 

U.S. Park Police said in a statement that the victim's name was not going to be immediately released out of respect for the family's privacy. Park Police are the lead agency in the investigation.  

As with other federal properties, there are warning signs of the conditions at the beach.

"This is not a site that has lifeguards. It's not a swimming beach," said one park ranger. Although some who do risk swimming at the beach, said there is a sudden drop off into deeper water. 

The victim and his friends were not supervised by adults. The boy, who was a San Francisco resident, only turned 14 one week ago.