MALIBU— A swimmer at Malibu’s Zuma Beach was pronounced dead on Sunday, July 12 after disappearing in the surf earlier in the day.
The 28-year-old man, who has now been identified as Jose Garcia of Sun Valley, disappeared near the No. 9 lifeguard tower on Zuma beach. Almost an hour after he disappeared, Garcia was spotted in the water by a helicopter that had been called in for the search. Firefighters administered CPR as soon as he was brought to shore, but Garcia was pronounced dead shortly after 5 p.m.
Along with the helicopter, firefighters and at least four scuba divers joined the search for Garcia. According to reports, beaches up and down the coast, including Zuma, were experiencing unusually large surf on Sunday. Before the Garcia disappeared, lifeguards on the scene reportedly witnessed him flailing his arms in the air in an apparent effort to stay above the waves. Lifeguards had already began rescuing several individuals from 6-8-foot surf at the time of Garcia’s disappearance. Reports say that as many as 70 individuals were rescued from Zuma today, with approximately 200 more being rescued at various other Los Angeles county beaches.
Officials say they expect high surf and rough waters to continue off and on this summer due to El Niño and the uncharacteristically warm waters it brings to the West Coast region.