Woman swept off jetty suffers hypothermia, Good Samaritan walking dog hears cry for help


SAMOA PENINISULA, Calif. (KIEM)- A woman can thank a good Samaritan for keeping her warm after large waves swept her off the north jetty on the Samoa Peninsula.

Chief Dale Unea with the Samoa Peninsula Fire District says, when tides are high, so is the danger.

“This is just really tough for us to come, keep coming out here, people that just don’t heed the warnings of high tides,” he said.

Unea says, safety near the ocean is a message first responders continue to push.

“This is not a place to be during the winter during the wintertime,” he said.

Especially on jetties – a 50-year-old woman ignored the warnings – she was out fishing – when waves swept here off the jetty.

Grace Wittenann was nearby, out walking her dog.  

“I heard this woman calling through the trees for help, and I ran over to her and she was soaking wet, her clothes were ripped-up and I managed to get her to stand-up and get her safely to her car,” she said.  

That’s when she called 911.

“She told me that she was in the water for some time, and everything else was pretty groggy,” said Wittenann. “Unfortunately she was pretty disoriented.”

“She was very cold when we got to her,” said Unea.  

The woman was lethargic due to the cold water – she was taken to the hospital to be treated for hypothermia and is expected to be OK.

The National Weather Service issued a high surf advisory – warning beachgoers large breaking waves 22-to-24 feet would cause dangerous ocean conditions.

Unea says, not everyone is as fortunate – nearly a month ago a Utah woman lost her life when she was swept off the same jetty, into the ocean.

“It’s tough on me and my volunteers to be out here rescuing people,” he said. “It’s horrible to see and you, know it’s, it’s what were prepared to do, this is what we trained to do but it’s still not something we particularly like to do.”

The high surf advisory has since expired.