Lifeguards rescue man who jumped from Huntington Beach Pier


A man had just finished dinner at Ruby’s Diner on the Huntington Beach Pier at about dusk Monday, and while standing roughly 30 feet above the ocean, he had the urge to check an activity off his bucket list, authorities said.

A video of the incident shows the man climbing over the pier railing, readying himself and leaping off the structure. Bystanders groaned as he hit the water on his side after completing a back flip.

But the man, whom authorities did not identify, got caught in a strong current and couldn’t make his way the roughly third of a mile to shore. Instead, he clung to a pier piling and waited for help, said Huntington Beach Marine Safety Lt. Claude Panis.

Lifeguards responded after a bait shop business reported that the man was struggling in the water. The surf that day ranged from 4 to 6 feet, with strong rip currents.

A lifeguard jumped from the pier, placed the man on a buoy and swam to shore, Panis said.

The man didn’t need extensive medical treatment and was not taken to a hospital, authorities said. However, police cited him for jumping from the pier, an illegal act that carries a fine of $125, authorities said.

“The reason it’s illegal is because it’s a very dangerous thing to do,” Panis said. “We’ve had trained people that have been injured jumping off the pier. For the average person coming down to the beach, it’s extremely risky.”

However, risk of injury or fine doesn’t stop some thrill-seekers from taking the plunge each year.

Huntington Beach authorities cite about a dozen people annually for jumping off the pier, Panis said.

Lifeguards have seen people suffer back and leg injuries, and some weren’t able to make it to shore and drowned, Panis said.

“A lot of times people’s judgment is impaired because they’ve been drinking and they don’t realize the distance they’re out from shore,” he said. “After they jump, they realize they can’t make it back.”

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