Large waves lead to many rescues in Laguna

Warm water and high surf kept Laguna Beach lifeguards busy during the July 4 weekend.

Lifeguards made 946 rescues from Friday morning through Sunday evening, Marine Safety Capt. Tom Trager said.

"This was the busiest three-day stretch I've seen in 29 years," Trager said. "It was hot and humid with 73-degree water and big swells."

One 21-year-old rookie lifeguard escaped serious injury at St. Ann's Beach on Friday.

About 2 p.m. the woman, filling in for a colleague on a break, entered the surf line to rescue a struggling swimmer, Trager said. Waves averaged 6 to 8 feet that day.

The lifeguard secured the swimmer to a rescue tube, but the two became separated after being hit by a large wave.

The lifeguard heard several "pops" in her back and neck and was helped to shore by another marine safety officer, said Trager. Another lifeguard rescued the swimmer.

Paramedics transported the 21-year-old woman to Mission Hospital Laguna Beach for X-rays. She returned to work Wednesday, Trager said.

—Bryce Alderton

Twitter: @AldertonBryce

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