AVALON, Calif. – A boat that may have been hit by a wave capsized off the backside of Santa Catalina Island on Saturday, killing three men, authorities said.
Four survivors were rescued after the 15-foot skiff overturned off of Salta Verde Point, Los Angeles County Sheriff's officials said.
Two men were in hospitalized in critical condition, and two other men were listed in fair condition.
The Pacific Quest, a chartered fishing boat, reported the capsizing at around 9:30 a.m., and pulled four people from the water, but two seemed unresponsive, Sondra-Kay Kneen of the U.S. Coast Guard said
A Coast Guard helicopter pulled another person from some rocks, lifeguards pulled one from the water and another was found on a beach, Kneen said.
"The waves in the area were reported to be between 4 and 6 feet, and that could have overturned the skiff," she said.
The captain of the Pacific Quest said a passenger on an overnight fishing trip on his boat first saw the skiff flip. The passengers watched the frantic search and rescue effort as members of his crew helped get some of the people out of the water.
"It was pretty horrific. It's not every day that you see people up floating, trying to swim and then they go under in despair," Greg Obymako told KCAL-TV.
"It's not pretty to see dead bodies on the back of boats. It's not something you wish on anybody," he said.