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Teenager Swept Under Waves at Santa Monica Pier Was LAUSD Student
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Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Hector Gonzalez
Special to The Lookout

April 1, 2016 -- Authorities on Thursday identified a teenager who was caught in roiling currents Saturday after wading just a few feet into the ocean near Santa Monica Pier as a student who attended a medical magnet school in Boyle Heights.

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner identified the victim as Thuy Tran, 17, of Los Angeles.

Tran was pulled from the waters by Los Angeles County lifeguards and rushed in critical condition to UCLA Health Center-Santa Monica, where she died Sunday, officials said ("Girl Caught in Rip Current Near Santa Monica Pier May Not Survive," March 29, 2016.

Los Angeles County Fire Department Ocean Specialist Spencer Parker said Tran was under the water for nearly an hour before lifeguards were able to find her.

Tran attended Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet School, which is part of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The teen was at the pier as a volunteer helping to clean the shoreline as part of beach cleanup project, LAUSD Superintendent Michelle King said Thursday.

“Our hearts go out to the relatives and friends of this exceptional young woman, and to the entire school community,” King said in a statement.

Crisis counselors were available at the ninth- through 12th-grade campus Thursday “to provide emotional support to students and staff,” said King.

Parker said Tran was fully dressed when she went into the water and had only stepped in a few feet when she was caught in a rip current -- a channel of churning and choppy water often found near structures like piers.

Rip currents are especially common off Santa Monica Beach during the spring months.

Tran was near Lifeguard Tower 15, which was staffed at a time, Spencer said.

Because of strong crossing currents around the pier's supporting pillars, people have been known to get sucked under the water there, he said. Some victims' bodies have never been found, Spencer added.

Two weeks earlier near the same location, there was a report of a swimmer clinging to a pylon below the pier, but no body was found by searchers in that incident and no missing person report was filed, officials said.

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