Cool Temperatures Lead to a Quiet Memorial Day in Malibu

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Though temperatures were low, crowds from near and far turned up for Memorial Day, as seen above at Zuma Beach.

Ask any local Malibu resident and they will tell you highway traffic seems to be getting worse every year. And when it comes to summer, some locals go as far as saying they cannot stomach driving on a crowded Pacific Coast Highway. 

As the official start of summer, Memorial Day weekend started off ominously with a fatal pedestrian accident on PCH near Topanga last Friday. A 21-year-old Hispanic male by the name of Francisco Antonio Mundo-Hernandez was killed while walking on PCH in the early morning, dark hours, just before 5 a.m., according to LA County Coroner spokesperson Ed Winter. The incident left many commuters with an extra-long drive into work while investigators looked into what caused the tragedy. Eastbound lanes in the vicinity were blocked until 9 a.m. 

However, for other visitors and locals, a good dose of May gray kept record-numbered crowds away from Malibu and soul-crushing gridlock never materialized.

It was reported relatively quiet for lifeguards as well, who did acknowledge huge numbers of people spotted on the sand. However, a spokesperson said that the cool water temperatures kept many swimmers out of the ocean last weekend. Los Angeles County Fire Department Captain Virginia Rupe with the Lifeguard Division told The Malibu Times a mere 10 ocean rescues were made during the holiday period and 27 medical calls were received by her division. With 24 years on the job as a lifeguard working most Memorial Day holidays, she attributed the low volume of rescues compared to previous years to a “smaller surf and colder waters keeping the water activity lighter than usual.” 

Malibu Search and Rescue, which set a record last year for helping lost and injured hikers, also reported a relatively quiet holiday weekend. MSAR only responded to two calls over Memorial Day weekend, but according to team leader David Katz, that would be a normal call load. One rescue attempt was made on Saturday in Malibu Creek State Park, where three hikers were found stranded. On Monday, an injured hiker needed help at Escondido Falls. In both cases, however, Katz said the hikers “were able to extricate themselves.”

The Lost Hills Sheriff’s Department reported an investigation is taking place after the body of a man was found near Malibu Road on Saturday. So far, there is no indication it was a homicide. A spokesperson said all indications at this time point to a suicide. The man’s last address was out-of-state and he may have been homeless.