Body surfer killed in big OC surf

“The Wedge” – the spectacular but dangerous body-surfing spot in Newport Beach – claimed a life this afternoon.

A swimmer who challenged 20-foot waves was thrown into the jetty at “The Wedge.” Witnesses in the large crowd that gathered to watch the surf say the man was caught in a set of large waves that pitched him into the rocks that make up the Newport jetty.

Lifeguards in a rescue boat pulled him out of the surf and administered CPR. The man died later at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach.

Waves at “The Wedge” have been close to 25 feet high today. Body boarder Chris Branscombe rode the waves earlier in the day. He got out after a couple of hours.

Chris Branscombe: "There are sets that come in and can do some damage if you’re in the wrong spot. So you just gotta read the water right, and just know where you stand and everything will be all right, y’know?"

Lifeguards at Newport Beach rescued dozens of people from the dangerous surf today.

A storm in the South Pacific earlier this week churned up the high surf that’s hammering south-facing beaches. A rip current advisory is in effect at all Orange County beaches.

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