Anthony Skeens, The Triplicate

Man swept away by waves is rescued by pair of fishermen

Two fishermen helped a man to safety who was swept off the Crescent City jetty Tuesday morning.

Around 10:30 a.m., Nghia Diep, 47, of Crescent City, was walking toward the far end of the mile-long jetty when he was hit by a wave that knocked him down, said Del Norte Search and Rescue Coordinator Terry McNamara.

A second wave crashed onto Diep, pulling him onto the rocks on the east side of the jetty, McNamara said.

Two fishermen who were nearby saw the man get swept away and ran to his aid, McNamara said.

They helped him walk along the rocks until they reached the beach at Beachfront Park, McNamara said, adding that SAR volunteers arrived just as the men reached the sand.

Authorities said they didn't know the names of the fishermen.

Diep was taken to Sutter Coast Hospital but didn't appear to have been seriously injured, McNamara said.

It is advised to stay off the jetty, McNamara said.

Police Chief Doug Plack echoed McNamara's sentiments.

"Hopefully people take heed of the dangers that are associated with walking on the jetty," said Plack. "It just goes to show, even though it was a very calm day outside, the ocean was not calm by any stretch of the imagination."

Walking on the jetty doesn't just put that person at risk, but also the first responders who come to the aid of anyone needing to be rescued, Plack said.

In December 2008, a local physician participating in a bird count was hit by a wave that knocked him off the jetty and onto the rocks below. He died of head trauma.

Last year, a Santa Cruz man was taking photographs on the jetty when a wave swept him into the water. He climbed back on therocks and attempted to retrieve his camera, but another wave knocked him back down. He was able to cling to the rocks with waves crashing onto him until emergency personnel came to his rescue.

Within a week of that rescue, a group of four teenagers made it to the end of the jetty but were stranded when waves began pummelling their return pathway. They climbed onto a piling before finding a break in the action and returning to safety.

Reach Anthony Skeens at