Lifeguards rescue swimmers from Sunset Cliffs

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SAN DIEGO -- Emergency crews came to the rescue Monday of three swimmers who got caught in a rip current in the surf off Point Loma.

"They got caught in the rip current down here. That's pretty common. It's always active. It's a very dangerous area especially when the surf is up like it was today," Sgt. Rich Stropky with San Diego Lifeguards, said.

The near-drownings near the foot of Hill Street were reported shortly before 3 p.m., according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

Public-safety personnel who happened to be nearby, training for bluff rescues, pulled the men out of the water, SDFRD spokesman Lee Swanson said.

"Time really, really was of the essence and any delay could have amplified their injuries," Stropky said.

Two had to be hoisted up the cliffs, while the third was able to walk up a trail on his own.

According to SD Lifeguards, one victim was submerged under water by the time they reached him. He had to be airlifted to a nearby hospital. The other two were rushed to the hospital by ambulance.

The victims were all in their 20s.

“They had all taken in a fair amount of water,'' Swanson said.