Lifeguards recover body of missing kayaker

Teen was exchange student from Ghana

SAN DIEGO - San Diego lifeguards have recovered the body of a 17-year-old boy who drowned in Mission Bay when his kayak capsized.

The teen, an exchange student from Ghana, was first reported missing at 3:01 p.m. Saturday in the Sail Bay area of western Mission Bay, near the Mission Bay Sportcenter at Santa Clara Point. The search for the body was suspended Saturday night after sunset and resumed Sunday about 6:30 a.m.

The teen's body was discovered at 9:35 a.m. today in 25 feet of water at an undisclosed location in the bay, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department spokesman Lee Swanson said.

A tweet from the San Diego lifeguard said lifeguard divers had recovered the teen's body and it was believed he had not been wearing a life jacket.

SDFRD dispatched emergency personnel including rescue divers and a helicopter to search for the teen Saturday, Swanson said. After about two hours of searching, authorities said the situation turned from a rescue operation to recovery operation.

10News learned the young man was on a trip with friends and neighbors when he fell from his kayak. Several witnesses heard him scream for help and saw him floundering in the water and immediately tried to help.

"Hundreds of people on personal boats, canoes, paddleboards just swarming this area," said witness Don Lardizabal.

Witnesses said they saw the kayak capsize off Santa Clara Point and saw him struggling to hold onto a life jacket or other flotation device, Swanson said. Witnesses said the teen lost his grip on the flotation device and went under.

A rescuer told an SDFRD dispatcher the boy had rented the kayak from the Catamaran Resort Hotel, 3999 Mission Blvd.

Lifeguards say drownings like this are rare and serve as a tragic reminder to practice being safe in the water at all times.

"You need to make sure that you're going to float if you fall off, so it's really sad," Lardizabal said.

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