SUSD Students Perform Life-saving Rescue
Posted by SUSD Communications on 8/4/2020
In the future, when Chaparral High School junior Zach Haugen and Desert Mountain High School junior Jake Watson tell their “What I did on my summer vacation” stories, they will have to include the tale of their having saved two girls from the waters off a San Diego beach in early July 2020.
The Sunset Cliffs area, about six miles northwest of downtown San Diego, is a treacherous area, even for the most experienced of swimmers. Its dramatic ocean views, cliff formations and caves draw local residents and visitors, alike. Thankfully, on July 3, Zach and Jake were among those who happened to be at Sunset Cliffs and saw that two swimmers were in trouble in the water below them.
Zach, who is a licensed lifeguard, realized immediately that this was a life-and-death situation and that the two girls could not wait for lifeguards to be summoned. With his training in mind, he made the split-second decision to jump into the water, followed by Jake, his best friend since third grade. Together, they swam to the girls’ rescue and got them safely to the beach, where lifeguards took over.
While this type of action on the part of civilians is generally not recommended, witnesses to the event leave no doubt that Zach and Jake saved these the lives of the girls, who appeared to be about 12- or 13-years-old, one of whom may have suffered a head injury after being struck by a large ocean wave.
Zach and Jake were honored for their heroism with SUSD Challenge Coins at the August 4, 2020 Governing Board meeting.