Two players from the San Diego Seals pro lacrosse team leaped off a cliff into roiling ocean waters at Sunset Cliffs and needed rescuing in what was a brazenly dangerous and illegal act.
The incident involving Garrett Epple and Nick Osselo occurred Thursday, just two days before their newly established team is scheduled to make its inaugural home opener in the National Lacrosse League, according to the San Diego Union Tribune.
The players asked a bystander to film them jumping off the cliffs at a well-known spot called The Arch. Witnesses told OnSceneTV the men were overcome by waves and 60-degree water on a day high-surf warnings had been issued. Waves were 4 to 6 feet at the time, a lifeguard spokesman told the Tribune.
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“I was flabbergasted,” witness Jim Grant told the Tribune, adding that he tried telling them not to jump. “They were doing OK for maybe 30 to 40 seconds. After that, they were done. They were fighting it real hard.”
San Diego Lifeguard was called to the scene at around 10:45 a.m. One man was rescued by a swimming lifeguard, who reached him and swam him back to the boat. The other clung to a cliff ledge and was eventually hoisted up the cliff via a rope-pulley system.
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“This rescue exemplifies how dangerous it can be,” San Diego Lifeguard spokesman Rick Strobel told OnScene.TV. “It’s a dangerous jump to begin with, and with heavy surf, it’s extremely dangerous, and it’s illegal.”
San Diego Municipal Code prohibits jumping into the ocean at a height greater than 5 feet.
Ossello played lacrosse at Notre Dame from 2011-15 and was a walk-on linebacker as a fifth-year senior for the Fighting Irish in 2015, the Tribune reported. He’s from Wheat Ridge, Colo. Epple is from Baltimore.
“We have been staying in cloth tough with our players and are relieved to report everyone is safe,” the team told FOX 5.
The players sustained only minor injuries. It was not known if they were cited.
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