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Woman drowns in sea in bid to rescue kids

HALF MOON BAY, CA — Aarti Senthilvel, an Indian American woman from Pleasanton, Calif., died heroically in Half Moon Bay, Calif., on July 1 while saving multiple kids who were swept away into a current.

Senthilvel, 47, a mother of two, made every attempt to rescue family and friends–11 in all–in the current at Cowell Ranch State Beach, according to a media report.

Emergency crews responded around 6:30 pm at the beach to a report of Senthilvel, who was swept into the ocean. Personnel from Coastside Fire, AMR, San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office and California State Parks performed a water rescue and initiated medical care, but were unable to revive her, according to the sheriff’s office.

Senthilvel helped save at least one teenager, said her brother-in-law. The group, upon getting swept into the water, formed a human chain and all but Senthilvel were rescued.

According to San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Rosemerry Blankswade, Senthilvel helped rescue as many as three children and teens.

California State Parks Public Safety Superintendent Bill Wolcott said the waves were small on July 1 at the beach. However, ocean currents always pose a risk, he said.

The brother-in-law said Senthilvel volunteered at her children’s high schools. She was also active in the community, providing her services as a classically trained dancer.

Senthilvel’s death follows three similar incidents last month in which people drowned or nearly died while rescuing children in the state.

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