500K visit Malibu during Labor Day weekend

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Zuma Beach

Labor Day weekend brought the traditional end of summer, the start of college football and half a million beachgoers to Malibu. So perhaps it was no surprise that the summer crush kept emergency personnel busy, as 27 arrests were made at a DUI checkpoint Friday night and the Malibu Search and Rescue (SAR) team rescued two hikers on Sunday. 

Approximately 504,000 people hit the local beaches on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, according to Los Angeles County Lifeguard Captain Chuck Moore. Lifeguards made 306 ocean rescues and 175 first aid responses on the shore, which include everything from broken bones to bee stings. During one rescue, a 20-year-old male was airlifted to UCLA Medical Center with an unspecified neck injury. The man’s current condition is unknown. 

Zuma Beach and state lifeguards also safely rescued swimmers who became stranded in ocean caves near El Matador State Beach when the tide came in, rescuing one person on Saturday and 12 on Sunday. 

Twenty-three children were reported missing at the beach during the three-day interval, a low number compared to the high number of beachgoers, Moore said. Each of the children was safely reunited with their families, including a four-year-old who wandered a mile down the beach away from his parents. 

The busiest beach attendance day was Sunday, when 175,000 people came to Malibu, while Saturday had the most ocean rescues, which numbered 135. Zuma Beach got the highest number of visitors. 

Lifeguards kept busy off the beaches as well, running a first aid booth at the annual Kiwanis Chili Cook-Off. Local lifeguards taught 209 people how to do CPR at the local festival, mostly families with young children or infants. 

The high number of beachgoers also brought a large number of cars through Malibu. The Point Dume State Beach parking lot sold out each day of the weekend by around noon, while the Surfrider Beach lot also maxed out every day and a steady stream of cars traveled Pacific Coast Highway. 

“When the traffic is bumper-to-bumper going up the coast at two in the afternoon, we know it’s going to be really bad,” Moore said. 

At the start of Labor Day weekend, Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff ’s Station officials made 27 arrests at a DUI and driver’s license checkpoint on Pacific Coast Highway and Carbon Canyon Road on Friday night, according to the sheriff’s station. 

During the checkpoint, two people were arrested for driving under the influence and one driver was arrested for possession of a controlled substance. Additionally, one person was arrested on a felony grand theft warrant and three were arrested on other outstanding warrants. 

Eight drivers with suspended licenses and six unlicensed drivers were arrested. Six drivers were also cited for not having their driver’s licenses with them. 

A total of 2,786 vehicles passed through the checkpoint and 1,561 drivers were checked by officials. 

“The goal of the DUI/DL Checkpoint was removing impaired drivers and to bring awareness to the public of the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol,” Malibu/Lost Hills Traffic Sgt. Philip Brooks said in a statement. 

During the holiday weekend, the Malibu Search and Rescue team also rescued two individuals. 

The rescue team helped locate and reunite a missing 17-year-old female with her family near Tuna Canyon on Sunday, according to the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station. 

The teenager got separated from her family off a hiking trail near Tuna Canyon on Sunday afternoon. 

During their search for the 17-year-old, rescuers also received a call about a diabetic man hiking in Topanga State Park who was “distressed,” according to officials. A sheriff’s patrol helicopter transported the man to an ambulance waiting to take him to a hospital. 

Sunday’s rescues were the 64th and 65th calls received by the Malibu SAR team this year. 

In general, Labor Day weekend numbers were down slightly this year compared to last year. In 2012, nearly 560,000 beachgoers came to Malibu during the holiday weekend, about 56,000 more than this year. However, local lifeguards made 298 rescues, which is slightly lower than this year’s 306 rescues. 

Additionally, five people were arrested for driving under the influence at a Labor Day weekend checkpoint in 2012, while only two were arrested this year. 

With the summer season drawing to a close, officials expect the number of beach visitors to drop and activity to slow down in Malibu in the coming weeks. 

Melissa Caskey contributed to this report.