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Two rescued at Sunset Cliffs after bystanders jump in to help

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Posted at 2:08 PM, Jul 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-12 20:34:04-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Two girls were rescued at Sunset Cliffs by teenage bystanders on Friday after being swept out to sea.

Local still photographer Jim Grant was hoping to capture the sunset at Sunset Cliffs Friday evening. But he got much more than just a beauty shot.

"There were some crazy things going on," Grant said.

He ended up witnessing a cliff and water rescue.

"Two young girls ... They looked to be about 12 or 13," Grant said. "They were down at this point, and a large set came in and swept them off their feet."

"The older one hit her head probably down on the reef and had a pretty serious head injury in the water," Lt. Andy Lerum with the San Diego Lifeguards said.

Before first responders could arrive on the scene, two boys jumped into the water to help the girls. The two teenage boys worked to keep the girls above water until help arrived, lifeguards said, adding that their efforts were instrumental in saving their lives.

"It was big surf," Grant remembered. "The girls could not swim or couldn't swim very well, that's for sure. And it just could've been a tragic event if those two guys didn't happen to be here."

Grant captured dramatic photos of the rescue, showing responders hoist one of the girls from the cliffs. In the end, Grant did get his sunset shot, just with an amazing cliff rescue in the foreground.

Lifeguards remind folks that even in exposed reef areas, strong waves could come crashing at any moment. So take extra precautions when going into the water this weekend.