Mission Beach drowning
Woodlain Zachee-Prudhome’s initials were written in the sand beside his favorite snacks and jersey number last June. Photo via @DanaGriffinNBC Twitter

The family of an 18-year-old who was swept out to sea by a rip current at Mission Beach while swimming and disappeared has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of San Diego.

The parents of Woodlain Zachee-Prudhome allege that lifeguards were aware of a rip current in the area where the teenager was seen swimming on June 14, 2022, but did not warn him or other members of the public.

The complaint filed last Wednesday in San Diego Superior Court states, “While swimming, Decedent was approached by a lifeguard on a jet ski who instructed him to swim toward Tower 16. Decedent, unaware of the presence of the rip current, obeyed the lifeguard’s instruction. In doing so, he swam straight into the dangerous rip current, and was pulled father out into ocean and began to drown.”

City officials could not immediately be reached for comment on the lawsuit, which alleges wrongful death, dangerous condition of public property, and negligent undertaking.

Numerous searches conducted in the weeks following Prudhome’s disappearance turned up nothing. Prudhome graduated from Crawford High School one day before his presumed drowning.

“This is such an important public safety issue,” said Domenic Martini, one of the attorneys representing Prudhome’s family. “This young man lost his life at Mission Beach, one of the most popular beaches in all California. We’re bringing this suit to find out how this could have happened right under the city lifeguards’ noses.”

City News Service contributed to this article.