A large wave caused several sailboats to capsize near the entrance to the Santa Cruz Harbor in Northern California, sending nearly two dozen people into the frigid water, including 12 children.
Within minutes, a Santa Cruz Fire Department lifeguard arrived on a jetski as surfers and boaters worked to pull everybody to safety. Officials were only able to account for seven of the children and put in a county-wide request for more rescue swimmers to aid in the search for the remaining kids.
"Sail school was coming in, and the white water just tumbled them, and they were just like dominoes flying through the water," Anna Ritter, who watched the boats capsize, told KPIX. "And five little kids were saved by some great surfers."
Within 15 minutes, rescuers managed to locate four of the remaining kids and found the final child about ten minutes later. The children were all wearing their life jackets and did not suffer any injuries.
Officials said that a high surf warning was issued earlier in the day, and they increased the number of patrols in the area.
"With the high swell advisories that we had upstaffed a bit," Santa Cruz County Fire Battalion Chief Daniel Kline said. "When the call came in today, we had 2 skis in the water already."
"No injuries," Klein added. "Except for some wet, cold kids that needed to be handed back to their parents."
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