Dangers in Paradise – January 5, 2008

When traveling into unfamiliar areas, be sure to seek out information concerning your surroundings.

When you see a sign warning you about a dangerous curve or railroad crossing, I’ll bet you slow down and pay attention when you get there.  When you are warned about a bridge clearance that is shorter than your vehicle, it is wise to take an alternate route.

Why is it then, that when locals warn people about rip tides and other beach dangers, these warnings are ignored?

We’ve delayed this report, not wanting to pall the holiday season.  It was about noon on Christmas Eve and we were stationed at our normal beach chairs reading and enjoying our surroundings.  The beach directly in front of the Sayulita RV Park is quite steep.  Locals and longtime visitors have warned about a rip tide directly in front of us at all times, especially when seas are high.  Christmas Eve was one of those days.


The area in front of our park is marked with red flags that were placed there by the surfers that are tired of pulling people from the surf.  There are no lifeguards on this beach.


We’ve noticed that people ignore the warnings and still venture into the dangerous part of the surf.  We say to ourselves, “Uh-oh, that person is going to get into trouble if he goes out another 10 feet.”  Sure enough, they rapidly move from 20 yards off shore to over 100 yards.  Instead of swimming parallel to the beach, 50 yards in either direction to escape the rip tide, they set forth on a futile attempt to swim directly back to shore.  The result is exhaustion.  Their only hope is rescue by someone with a surf board or boogie board.

The surf was too rough and disorganized for surfers this day.  We noticed a man and his partner getting into trouble and there was nobody that could reach them.  Eventually two guys grabbed some boogie boards from beachgoers and headed out into the surf to assist.

They reached the troubled swimmers and started toward shore.  Unfortunately, the surf yanked the boogie boards from their grips on the way in.  When they reached a point where they could stand, quite a few people were available to help bring those in danger to shore.  One man was unconscious as they dragged him to shore, where his daughter watched in a state of panic.

In our park, there was a doctor and her paramedic boyfriend staying for the holidays.  They raced over to assist.  In this photo, the doctor and her boyfriend are attempting CPR.


No medical equipment was available to assist in the rescue.  The crowd waited for the ambulance to arrive.


It took 45 minutes for emergency personnel to arrive.  The victim did not survive.  He was forty years old.

On a normal day, we will see surfers rescue up to a dozen individuals that wandered into trouble.  Even yesterday, which was quite calm, we saw a young man and woman pulled to safety.

When going on vacation or visiting unfamiliar areas, be sure to find out WHAT DANGERS LIE IN PARADISE.

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