Coast Guard rescues surfer from hazardous rip current

MCKINLEYVILLE, Calif.- The Coast Guard rescued a surfer in distress near Camel Rock on Monday afternoon.

The surfer, a 17-year male from Arcata, was surfing at Camel Rock when he was overcome by the offshore rip current. His friend, 19 year-old Thaddeus Zoellner of Arcata, was able to make it to the beach where he called for help.

Coast Guard Air Station Humboldt Bay immediately launched an HH-65C helicopter to the scene along with a 47′ motor life boat, from Station Humboldt Bay. Once on-scene, it was evident that the surfer was exhausted from fighting the choppy seas, so the helicopter crew determined the safest method of recovery would be to lower a rescue swimmer to the water to aid in the recovery.

The surfer was transported to the Coast Guard Air Station where he was treated and released to his family.

This case is another example of the ferocity of the North Coast. The two gentlemen involved were both quite lucky and their smart thinking was crucial to their survival. Camel Rock is one of the more popular surfing spots in the area, but as this case shows, the rip-currents can be deceiving from shore.

The Coast Guard highly encourages surfers and other people doing activities, on or near the water, to always go with a friend and to notify somebody else of where you are going and when you will return.

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