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Rescued man dies in hospital

Lifeguards found him clinging to an offshore buoy while unconscious. He was the 2nd death in Newport waters this year.

August 26, 2008|By Joseph Serna

In what lifeguard officials are calling a heartbreaking conclusion to the summer beach season, an unconscious Huntington Beach man lifeguards pulled from the water Monday afternoon died only hours later in the hospital, authorities said Tuesday.

Charles Jasmine, 52, was spotted by lifeguards about 25 yards offshore near B Street hanging onto a buoy at about 3:30 p.m. Monday.

When they swam out to rescue him, they found he had lost consciousness and pulled him onto the shore, Newport Beach Fire Department officials said.

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Jasmine was not breathing and lifeguards performed CPR with him on the sand until paramedics arrived and rushed him to Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, officials said. He died hours later.

Lifeguard officials said Jasmine was hanging on a buoy offshore and never appeared to fully submerge into the water. County coroners continued to investigate Jasmine’s cause of death Tuesday.

The death was the second in Newport Beach’s waters this year. In March, 17-year-old Victor Wang of Claremont drowned near Newport Pier when a rip tide pulled him out to sea.

Overall, it’s been a busier year for Newport Beach lifeguards than usual, said Lifeguard Battalion Chief Jim Turner.

“We had very good crowds this summer, much better than the last couple of summers,” Turner said.

Lifeguards are nearing 1,100 rescues in August, and had about 1,500 rescues in both June and July, Turner said. Through Sunday, Newport Beach lifeguards have made 4,391 rescues this year.

“That’s a surprising number. I thought we were going to be fairly low,” Turner said.

Extraordinarily busy weekends in the beginning of summer quickly raised the total. Lifeguards averaged more than 200 rescues per day in the first weekend of summer and performed 295 rescues June 25 alone.

Through Tuesday this week, lifeguards have noticed a drop-off in beach visitors, likely because many students have returned to school and athletes are in summer practices, Turner said.

This Labor Day weekend will be the last weekend of the season the beaches are fully staffed with lifeguards, officials said.

About two-thirds of lifeguard staffing will be reduced Tuesday, with half of the remaining staff being cut the week after, Turner said. Rescue officials would like to remind swimmers to never swim alone and to stay within sight of a lifeguard at all times.


JOSEPH SERNA may be reached at (714) 966-4619 or at joseph.serna@latimes.com.

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