CITY NEWS SERVICE
TORRANCE — Family members of a Torrance surfer who died Saturday off San Onofre State Beach said it was unclear what happened, but Russ Yamada did have a bruise on his forehead.
The 42-year-old North High School graduate, who co-owned the Kizuna House assisted-living with his brother Scott, was surfing with a group, but no one reported seeing anything unusual until Yamada was found unconscious.
“He caught a wave and, at some point, lost consciousness in the water,” his sister-in-law, Dena Yamada told the Daily Breeze.
An autopsy was expected to be done Tuesday.
“We’re not sure what happened, but he did have a bruise on his forehead,” Dena Yamada said, adding that her brother-in-law was known as a strong swimmer.
The surf was running 6-8 feet, and the wind, blowing about 20 mph, was creating a chop on top of that.
Yamada was found near his surfboard about 4:15 p.m., but lifeguards were unable to resuscitate him.
He was 300-400 yards offshore, Terry Murphy, a spokesman for the lifeguard service told the Orange County Register.
Yamada was declared dead at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center about an hour later.