Drowning usually a ‘silent death,’ officials warn amid spike in fatal incidents

Bay Area

PACIFICA, Calif. (KRON) — There have been a several drownings around the Bay Area this summer, and the most recent tragedy happened next to the Pacifica pier.

An unfortunate chain of events led to one fisherman drowning as his friends were calling the U.S. Coast Guard for help Wednesday evening. Three fishermen were on board a 20-foot boat when the boat ran out of gas. The boat was disabled in rough seas and a huge wave swept one of the men into the water.

Water rescue crews dragged the victim to the shore, where he was pronounced dead

The victim’s identity has not been released because family members are still be notified.

One shocking detail that Pacifica police told KRON4.com was that the victim was wearing a life vest. Investigators are probing whether the life vest had been properly fastened.

No one was in the ocean in Pacifica the day after a fisherman drowned south of the pier.

Wearing a life vest is strongly encouraged for both strong and weak swimmers.

The U.S. Coast Guard said 80% of boating deaths are drownings, and 80 percent of those drowning victims were not wearing life jackets.

The fisherman’s death was one of several drownings, as well as water rescues, this summer at lakes, rivers, and beaches. Hot temperatures typically drive more people toward water recreation activities.

Maria Mowrey, superintendent of California State Parks Bay Area District, said many state parks beaches have no lifeguards on duty. She urged park visitors to wear a life vest, swim with a buddy, and keep an “eagle-eye” on kids.

“It takes just a second for someone to drown,” Mowrey said.

“The signs of drowning are not typical. You don’t see someone splashing around (yelling) ‘help!’ ‘help!’ It’s really a silent thing when someone is drowning,” Mowrey said.

Two young men drowned in separate incidents last month at Lake Berryessa in Napa County.

On June 27, Marcos Salvador Grijalva Pocasangre, 25, was attempting to swim across a cove when he went underwater.

The Napa County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team found his body in 12-foot deep water, about 15 feet away from shore at McKenzie Ridge.

“There were no signs of trauma,” deputies said.

Just nine days earlier, Billy Dy, 22, of San Jose, drowned while swimming in Pleasure Cove in Lake Berryessa.

Dy had many friends in the San Jose area who tweeted emotions of disbelief. Dy was known for his smile and sense of humor.

One friend tweeted, “One of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Nothing but good vibes whenever I saw him.” Another friend tweeted, “I love you dude, can’t believe you went out one of the worst ways possible.”

Multiple ocean rescues have also unfolded along the coast from Santa Cruz County to Marin County in recent weeks.

Southern Marin fire officials said, “Beware of rip currents and remember, great weather does not mean it’s safe to swim.”

Two Bay Area residents drowned in May while visiting a picturesque swimming hole, God’s Bath, in the Sierra Nevada, according to the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office. God’s Bath is in a remote section of the Clavey River in a narrow granite canyon.

Benedict Rozario, 20, of Pittsburg, and Rinoel Villena, 25, of Daly City, were caught in a whirlpool, overpowered by the current, and pulled underwater, the Sheriff’s Office said.

A third swimmer who was with the victims was able to escape from the whirlpool and resurfaced downstream.

“Although beautiful, extreme caution should be used when visiting any of our local water ways or swimming holes,” the Sheriff’s Office wrote.

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