Yesterday evening, Southern Marin resources were dispatched to a medical aid on Tennessee Valley Beach where quick heroic actions were the difference between life and death.
Units arrived at the beach to find the National Park Service officers being informed from bystanders that as many as five victims had been swept off the beach and into the pounding surf. Additional resources from the United Stated Coast Guard, Stinson Beach Lifeguards, Mill Valley Fire Department, CalSTAR , and the California Highway Patrol Aviation Unit were requested to assist in the effort.
First due paramedics from Southern Marin took calculated risks by timing the waves and running around the rocky cliffs to initiate patient contact with the most critical patient who was in a group of three which included a good samaritan who tried to help but was overcome by the heavy waves. A fourth victim was dragged out onto the main beach area by bystanders and was immediatley taken by ground transport to Marin General Hospital for treatment for hypothermia and multi-system trauma.
The USCG helicopter was able to utilize a long line and basket to extricate the conscious patient to the main beach area for ground transport. The good samaritan was escorted by NPS surf rescue personnel around the cliffs to a safe area where he declined transport to a medical facility.
The critical patient was given Advanced Life Support by the paramedics under arduous conditions a mere 10 feet from the waves in the incoming tide. The patient was stabilized and extricated by the CHP helicopter H32 which was also used to transport her by air to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek.
Rescue efforts were hampered by strong winds, limited radio reception, and extreme access to the patients.
Video footage of the rescue can be seen here.