ASHTABULA — A 16-year-old swimmer at Walnut Beach was in critical condition Tuesday night after getting caught in dangerous 3- to 5-foot waves.

Coast Guard Bosuns Mate II Scott Sjostrom said the Grand River (Fairport) Coast Guard station responded to a call of a possible drowning in progress at about 5:17 p.m.

"It took the 25-foot rescue boat four minutes to arrive at the beach," he said. "The boat was dispatched from the Ashtabula station. When it arrived another agency had already pulled the swimmer out of the water."

Ashtabula Police Chief Robert Stell said getting the swimmer out of the water was a combined effort of Ashtabula Fire Department water rescue, Community Care Ambulance and the Ashtabula Police Department.

"The swimmer was pulled out of the water by the break wall," he said. "It was a combined effort with all of us working together."

As soon as the swimmer was pulled out of the water, the fire department began administering CPR to him, he said.

A Community Care ambulance transported the teen to ACMC and then later transported him to MetroHealth Hospital in Cleveland, where he was in critical condition, Sjostrom said. 

At 4:16 p.m., Tuesday the National Weather Service in Cleveland issued a beach hazards statement that advised of a "high swimming risk" along the Lake Erie shore stemming from "waves and dangerous currents." The alert will remain in effect through Wednesday night, according to the NWS in Cleveland.

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