3 people dead after being swept off a cliff into the ocean off Point Mugu

One of three drowning victims is carried away by Ventura County coroner's officials along Pacific Coast Highway
One of three drowning victims is carried away by Ventura County coroner’s officials along Pacific Coast Highway near Point Mugu State Park on Thursday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Three people died Thursday afternoon when they were swept off a cliff near Point Mugu State Park into the Pacific Ocean, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said.

Sheriff’s Office and county fire officials made a frantic search of the water after receiving reports of people being swept in. Searchers found the three people and got them on shore, but they could not be revived.

“They were pronounced dead at the scene after being pulled from the water,” Ventura County Sheriff’s Capt. Eric Buschow said.

Buschow said the three victims were part of a family of eight fishing near the notoriously slippery crags and small beaches between Point Mugu and Leo Carrillo state parks along Pacific Coast Highway, not far from the Ventura County-Los Angeles County border.

Buschow believes a large wave crashed on top of where the family was fishing and dragged three people into the ocean.


Ventura County Fire Capt. Brian McGrath said the incident took place near Deer Creek Road about 4:40 p.m.

“Unfortunately, it can be a dangerous place because it is very rocky and the beach and sand slopes straight down,” Buschow said. “Things can look very calm one moment, but every once in a while you can have a large wave that can crash down upon you.”

No additional information about the victims, including their names and ages, was available.

Buschow did not believe any warning signs are posted in the area to alert visitors of the possible danger of waves or slipping because that section of Pacific Coast Highway is not part of either state park.

“I can’t say for sure, but I doubt there’s anything there,” he said.

A dozen years earlier, three young men were swept out to sea under similar circumstances off Point Mugu on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 27, 2008.

That was the second incident that year after a 16-year-old boy was washed out to sea while fishing.