Divers pull teen from water after hour-long search

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SAN DIEGO -- Lifeguards searched for nearly an hour for a teen boy who jumped into the water at Sunset Cliffs and disappeared beneath the surface Wednesday.

Rescuers pulled the boy, who was about 15 years old, from the water just before noon. He had been with a group of friends cutting class and jumping from the cliffs but wasn't a strong swimmer and started to struggle once he hit the water, San Diego Lifeguard Lt. Rick Romero said.

Rescuers swarmed the area after the boy's friends called for help. Lifeguards searched from the bluff while swimmers searched the water's surface and divers checked underwater. The search was difficult due to terrible visibility underwater.

"We just saturate the whole entire area until we find them," Romero said of the massive effort. "You can't see your hand in front of your face. ... It is zero visibility. You have to run into the person to find them."

After about an hour of searching, divers finally located the boy. He was lifted from the water and placed on a stretcher. He immediately received CPR and was placed in an ambulance, which rushed him to the hospital.

Romero did not have an official status for the boy but said, "he didn't look very good."

"We want to give him the best chance to survive we can," he said. "(An hour) is a long time."

"All we can do is pray," said the boy's friend, Jaydin Meza. Meza told FOX 5 the group of friends didn't know the boy wasn't a strong swimmer.

The lieutenant noted that signs forbid jumping from the cliffs in that area, though lifeguards make frequent rescues there. "It's not the first time," Romero said. "It does happen quite a bit."

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