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Man Drowns at Main Beach in Santa Cruz; Two Children Rescued

Man and two children were swept approximately 200 hundred yards offshore

FILE PHOTO -- A nearly empty Main Beach in 2020. PHOTO: TARMO HANNULA

A San Jose man died Sunday afternoon after being swept into the sea by waves at the San Lorenzo River mouth.

Hai Pham, 50, died shortly after being pulled from the surf at Santa Cruz Main Beach around 6pm on Sunday, May 16, according to Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s spokesperson Ashley Keehn. 

The Santa Cruz Fire Department, Santa Cruz Police Department and Harbor Patrol responded to a report of a man and two children, ages 6 and 12, who were swept into the ocean and were approximately 200 hundred yards offshore.

Battalion Chief Daniel Kline said the fire department sent a rescue swimmer/paramedic into the water. A Harbor Patrol boat then arrived and found Pham unconscious in the water. 

Harbor Patrol members pulled Pham and the two children from the water, Kline said.

Paramedics began life-saving measures as the Harbor Patrol boat made its way to the Santa Cruz Harbor, where additional crews took over life-saving care. All three victims were taken to the hospital for continued resuscitation efforts.

Pham died a short while later from his injuries, Kline said.

The children were last known to be at the hospital, in good condition and undergoing an evaluation.

A fire department rescue swimmer/paramedic was treated at the hospital, then admitted overnight for an extended observation period.

“With summer months ahead and Memorial Day fast approaching, the Santa Cruz Fire Department wants to remind everyone of the dangers the ocean can present,” Kline warned. “Please proceed with caution and contact a lifeguard if you have questions regarding ocean conditions.”


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