Student Drowns During Volunteer Beach Cleanup in Santa Monica, California

Student Drowns During Volunteer Beach Cleanup in Santa Monica, California

A 17-year-old Boyle Heights student died after being swept away by a large wave while volunteering at a Santa Monica beach cleanup over the weekend, the Los Angeles County coroner’s said Thursday.


Thuy Tran, a student at Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School, was swept into the water in the 1500 block of Ocean Front Walk Saturday afternoon, said Ed Winter of the coroner’s office.

Tran was among a group of youngsters swimming in the water, possibly in an “inshore hole,” when the call came in for a rescue at approximately 12:48 p.m., according to Lidia Barillas, a spokeswoman for L.A. County Lifeguards.

Several people were assisted out of the water before lifeguards learned that one person was missing and possibly submerged, she said.

Tran was found about and hour later following an intense search that included rescue boats and L.A. County helicopters, according to Barillas. The teen was taken to UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica.

She was pronounced dead at the hospital the following morning at approximately 8:11 a.m., Winter confirmed to KTLA. Drowning has been ruled as the cause of death.

Tran, a senior, was a member of the track and field team and a valedictorian at Bravo Medical Magnet, according to Vinnie Brascia, head coach of Eagle Rock High School’s track team.

In a letter posted to the team’s Instagram account, Brascia wrote that she had recently been accepted at Stanford University.

 The two schools are in the same league, and the Eagle Rock coach proposed that student-athletes wear maroon ribbon or athletic tape on their uniforms the rest of track season to honor Tran.

The Los Angeles Unified School District released a statement on Thursday, saying the LAUSD family was “deeply saddened” by the student’s death.

“Our hearts go out to the relatives and friends of this exceptional young woman, and to the entire school community,” Superintendent Michelle King wrote in an emailed statement. 

District crisis and school counselors were being made available to students at staff, she said. 

The drowning occurred during a volunteer event that was not sponsored by the school, according to the district.

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