2 men on inflatables rescued after drifting out to sea

28 Feb.,2023


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Two men – one floating on a yellow and orange inner tube and the other on a yellow inflatable pool raft – ended up miles out to sea off Laguna Beach, where a Harbor Patrol crew rescued them Tuesday afternoon, according to authorities.

The pair had been on the ocean for about six hours when Orange County sheriff’s deputies plucked them from the water about two miles from shore, said Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi.

One of the men didn’t know how to swim. “He was scared because he thought he was going to die,” Concialdi said.

Authorities believe the ordeal started in Newport Beach on Tuesday morning.

The men, who are cousins in their 30s from El Monte, were visiting a friend in Newport and decided to relax on the water in Corona del Mar, according to the Fire Authority.

They floated out on the inner tube and raft, which Concialdi described as ones you might find on a lazy river in a water park.

“This was not the best decision these two gentlemen could make,” Concialdi said. “They could’ve easily drowned out in the ocean.”

When the cousins realized they were too far from shore, they tried to paddle back but couldn’t make it, authorities said.

For hours, they tried to flag down passing boats, but no one could hear or see them, according to Concialdi.

“They were out in rough seas with some paddles, and the current was just taking them farther and farther out to sea,” Concialdi said.

Around 4:30 p.m., someone noticed them, and rescuers on a Sheriff’s Department Harbor Patrol boat pulled them aboard.

Paramedics rode out on a boat to meet the men, who were dehydrated, Concialdi said.

One of the men was taken to a hospital in Mission Viejo in moderate condition for treatment of low blood pressure and hypothermia, according to the Fire Authority.

The other man declined to be taken to the hospital, so deputies drove him to his car in Newport Beach and he drove himself to the hospital, Concialdi said.


For the record: Authorities originally described the inner tube as being pink with polka dots. In fact, it had a yellow and orange checkered pattern.

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