by Taylor Sopppe
Ocean activities have their risks, and Newport Beach was given a sobering reminder of this when a body turned up in the water off 14th Street on Thursday, July 9. The man was a 44-year old from Costa Mesa whose identity is being withheld. Witnesses said they saw him body surfing amongst others for at least a half hour before he was found floating face down 15 to 20 yards offshore.
The waves were 4-6 feet that day, and it was Newport’s largest swell of the year according to Jim Turner, a lifeguard battalion chief. There was a rip current that day, but Turner said it was nothing out of the ordinary.
“One person had been body surfing nearby and he saw him before a wave and then face down after it,” said Jennifer Schulz, fire department spokeswoman. “He and another beachgoer pulled him ashore. And our lifeguards saw that happening and rushed down to take over.” The two administered CPR, which was continued by the lifeguards when they arrived on the scene. Unfortunately, it was to no avail. He was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian.
No signs of physical trauma were detected on the body, and the coroners suspect drowning. It appears he went to the beach alone, and officials could not find any of his belongings on the beach.