Lifeguard helps boat cut anchor off L Street

A Newport Beach lifeguard swam through 6-foot waves and fought against 16-knot winds to cut two anchor lines that were keeping a 24-foot Bayliner in dangerous waters, rescue workers said Monday.

About 2:41 p.m. Sunday Newport Beach Fire Department Lifeguard Capt. Arn Van Dyke responded to a report of a boat dragging anchor about 20 feet off shore at L Street near the Balboa Peninsula, officials with the Newport Beach Fire Department said.

The four or five passengers aboard appeared not to notice the surf had increased or that the boat slipped anchor in the high winds, authorities said.

Balboa Peninsula resident Nick Scalzo and Van Dyke worked in the water to pull the boat as far out of the surfline as they could, and in a direction so that if the boat was hit by a wave it wouldn't be broadsided, Van Dyke said.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to the rescuer as a firefighter. Also, it was actually Carson Hill who cut the lines of the anchors to free the vessel.

"It's lucky they didn't take a wave," Van Dyke said. "It could have been more of a disaster for sure."

Van Dyke said he almost asked the passengers to abandon ship, fearing they could have been seriously injured if the boat pitched onto the beach.

Newport lifeguard rescue boat Sea Watch III and an Orange County Sheriff's Department harbor patrol boat arrived three minutes later, and the vessel was quickly tied off as a large set of waves approached.

Rescue boat deckhand Carson Hill called for a knife and dove into the water. He cut the lines for the two anchors to free the vessel, knowing there wasn't enough time to pull them in. Sea Watch pulled the Bayliner through the waves, and the boat was transferred to the OCSD crew, which towed the boat to Newport Harbor.


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