California Surfers Rescue Unresponsive Man After Watching Him Jump From 40-Foot Pier

by Craig Garrett
Huntington Beach Pier - stock photo

A man tragically lost his life after he jumped from a pier in California and was pulled to shore by surfers, officials said. On Sunday, Oct. 23 at 6:30 p.m., a 36-year-old woman and 44-year-old Fenton Dee III of Norwalk jumped from the Huntington Beach Pier, as stated by City of Huntington Beach spokesperson Jennifer Carey. The woman swam back to the shore by herself and was unharmed, The State reports. However, surfers brought Dee onto the beach using a rescue board, Carey said.

Marine Safety and fire crews attempted to resuscitate Dee before transporting him to Hoag Hospital. However, upon arrival, he was declared deceased. “We don’t believe there to be any foul play, but we’re obviously going to talk to those who may have seen something,” Carey said.

Edmundo Alarcon, of Hollywood, who saw Sunday’s events said that he had been on the pier watching the sunset with a friend. They were walking back when they noticed a woman talking to a man outside on the railing. “It looked like she just wanted to jump for fun, like she wanted to do it and then she didn’t,” Alarcon told the LA Times. He said that, at one point, the woman was only barely hanging onto the pier with one arm. “You can tell he didn’t want to [jump]. I don’t know if he was trying to stop her.”

The surfers rescued the jumper after a 40 ft drop

On Monday, Alarcon confirmed that the waves were powerful. At one point he was concerned that the woman who had jumped might be hit by the pier’s pylons. But when she seemed to be okay, people on the pier started cheering. That’s when the man decided to jump in too, Alarcon said.

Huntington Beach Marine Safety Division Chief Eric Dieterman advised that the fall from the pier was more than 40 feet. This is based on tidal conditions around the time of the event. “The ocean conditions are constantly changing based on tides, surf conditions, and time of the year,” Dieterman explained in a statement. “Due to these changing conditions, and the 40- to 45-foot pier height, pier jumping is prohibited.”

“It had looked like she was struggling at first, so I think he just made a decision he was going to help her,” Alarcon recalled. “It looked like they both got to the surfers together and they were OK. Something must have happened between then and their reaching the shore.”

Carrie Braun is a spokeswoman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. She said the coroner’s office planned to conduct an autopsy and toxicology report on Dee’s body. The pier drops about 40 to 45 feet into the water. Huntington Beach is located approximately 40 miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles.