Kids in Sailing School Get Unexpected Lesson

5 children had to be rescued from waves off Santa Cruz, Calif., on Sunday
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2021 8:21 AM CST

Five children had to be rescued from waves off Santa Cruz, Calif., over the weekend after their boats capsized during a sailing lesson. Several small sailboats flipped as a large wave struck near the mouth of Santa Cruz harbor around 4:30pm Sunday, per NBC News. Though an initial call described up to 20 people thrown overboard, just five children, aged 10 to 12, ended up in the surf, along with at least one instructor, per Good Times. One child was rescued by harbor patrol, per NBC. The others were soon after rescued with help from nearby surfers. There were no serious injuries reported, though one surfer described a young girl as "very scared" and "having trouble breathing," per KTVU.

The fire department said the fact that all children were wearing life jackets "certainly played a role in their survival and made for a positive outcome," per NBC. Harbormaster Blake Anderson says people had been told to stay out of the water due to a high surf warning. "I believe it was a bad decision [for the surf school to head out]," he tells NBC Bay Area. "We had one of the biggest swells we've seen in a few years, between 15 and 16 feet at times," he adds, per Good Times. Both Anderson and the Santa Cruz Yacht Club, which operates the sailing school, are investigating what happened. The club says it "will take appropriate actions to prevent situations like this from happening in the future." (More rescue stories.)

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