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Ventura County Perspective

Lifeguard Protection at Beaches

February 11, 2001

Re "Oxnard Teen Drowns at Silver Strand Beach," Feb. 5.

The drowning of a 15-year-old will be quickly forgotten by the public and the media. As for myself, it will be etched in my memory for life, because I was involved in the resuscitation efforts along with others at the scene.

After the helicopter took away the boy's blue limp body, I thought to myself, "Why again? Why does the county deny the public protection at our beaches?"

For some families the beach is the only economical recreation available. The recipe for this disaster was forecast three days before the drowning: predicted temperatures in the 80s, a weekend day, large surf and rip currents.

Los Angeles County lifeguards know this recipe. That is why when these conditions are predicted they hire seasonal lifeguards to protect the public and prevent this type of disaster. This incident could have been prevented if a lifeguard had been present to contact the boy as he entered the water where the rip current was located and direct him to swim in a safer area.

DAN GILDEA

Oxnard

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