By Ed Diokno
Five teenage boys visiting from Vallejo, Calif., about an hour away, linked arms and stepped into the Pacific Ocean.
The strong riptide caught the boys by surprise– forcing them to lose their hold on each other. Three of the friends were able to make it back to the beach, but their two friends were swept out into the ocean by the undercurrent.
The Coast Guard presumed that 17-year-old Wayne Ausa and 16-year-old Grisham Duran, both Filipino American students at Vallejo High School, drowned this past Saturday afternoon at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach.
Ausa is from Davao City and Duran is from Zambales, according to their Facebook pages.
After a four hour search using both helicopter and rescue vessels, the Coast Guard and fire department suspended the operation. Coast Guard officials said that the two boys could be 15 miles out by the time rescue operations were halted.
This is the 12th rescue operations at Ocean Beach this year.
Capt. Gregory Stump of the U.S. Coast Guard said, “We’ve had quite a few around here lately and it’s because of these violent waters and it’s unfortunate, but folks come out here and they don’t understand how violent and difficult the conditions are out here.”
Vallejo history teacher Brandan Harris posted on Facebook Sunday that the school district was working on how to assist the teens’ classmates in coping with their loss.
“An entire community is hurting because we lost two amazing kids,” Harris wrote. “These kids mean so much to me and to see them in pain over the loss of two of their close friends is saddening.”
Counselors were available for the students at Vallejo High and the school will be organizing a vigil for Ausan and Duran this Saturday.
(Ed Diokno writes a blog :Views From The Edge: news and analysis from an Asian American perspective.)
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