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Man's body found near 20th Street

An Alpine resident was believed to have drowned while bodyboarding Wednesday afternoon, city officials said.

October 13, 2010|By Joseph Serna, joseph.serna@latimes.com
  • After a frantic search, Newport Beach lifeguards and firefighters rush a missing swimmer up the beach after he was found south of the Newport Pier. He was later pronounced dead.
After a frantic search, Newport Beach lifeguards and… (DON LEACH, Daily…)

NEWPORT BEACH — The body of a 22-year-old was found Wednesday after he went missing for nearly an hour in the waters off of Newport Beach.

The Alpine resident's body was pulled from the water south of Newport Pier after a massive search. Authorities said he'd been struggling to swim after a wave threw him off his bodyboard about 1:09 p.m. and he appeared to have drowned.

"He wasn't doing well," said Paul Matheis, division chief for the Newport Beach Fire Department. "He started foaming at the mouth and went under."

Witnesses and the man's girlfriend called 9-1-1 after they unsuccessfully tried to keep him afloat in the 3- to 5-foot waves near 18th Street, lifeguards said.

A witness reported the man was bodyboarding when he got wiped out by a wave near the shore, Matheis said.

A surfer got a hold of him three times and tried to pull him above the waterline, but he couldn't maintain his grip when another set came in, he said.

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The man's girlfriend also came out to help.

Emergency crews immediately began the search effort, calling in local police, the Orange County Sheriff's Department Harbor Patrol and lifeguards from Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach.

The Sheriff's Department helicopter later spotted the man's body near 20th Street in the surfline.

Divers found his body there about 2:15 p.m. and pulled him out of the water. He appeared unresponsive.

The man was not immediately identified, pending notification of next of kin. The coroner is expected to conduct an autopsy Thursday or Friday.

This is the first drowning off Newport's coast in more than a year. A man drowned in July 2009 when he was pinned underwater at the jetty near The Wedge.

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