GOLETA, Calif. - Employees of a restaurant at the base of the Goleta Pier are speaking out about a terrifying encounter with a rogue wave that swept one of their managers out to sea.
Several workers at the The Beachside Bar-Cafe were trying to secure outdoor furniture and board up the patio as giant waves broke behind them during Saturday's storm. Floor manager Joseph Barker said, "There was one hitting here and one hitting there. When the waves came up against the wall, it was kind of scary to be honest."
As the workers were putting up storm boards, another manager named Simon saw a giant rogue wave coming to shore. He yelled at them and told them to run. But, he got swept up by the wave and was sucked into the ocean. Simon was carried about 100 feet and managed to grab onto the pier.
The other workers got tossed around the patio. One guy held onto to a piling as waist-high water swirled around him. For several moments, no one knew what happened to Simon. Restaurant owner David Hardy said, "I don't think people understand how severe his situation was. No one knew he was gone or missing."
The men spotted Simon clinging to the pier and raced over to him. "They pulled him out. He was just in shock and just covered in sand. He said he was doing alright but you could tell he was really pale and just freaked out," said Barker.
Simon dislocated his shoulder in the incident. He's out of the hospital and recovering at home with his family. Simon says he's still shaken up, but plans to attend a work meeting on Monday.
The other employees suffered minor bumps and scrapes, but are okay. They were back at work on Sunday helping with the clean-up. The storm surge sent seawater into the restaurant, broke several panes of glass and damaged the flooring. It may take a few days until the restaurant re-opens. But, Hardy says he is very proud of his crew. "All men aboard. It worked out. I'm glad everything is safe and sound now."Slideshow: Goleta Beach Restaurant Employee Swept Out to Sea in Storm Surge24783250