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Rescuer of man adrift is South Tahoe High graduate

Some would say: “It’s not just a job, it’s an adventure.”

A South Tahoe High School graduate was identified Wednesday as a Navy seaman who took part in the rescue of a boater reported missing for three months on the Pacific Ocean.

“We’re excited to death,” Eli Ellsworth’s mother Wendy said Wednesday. “I told everyone I knew today.”



The South Shore mother, who works at the Shell station in Meyers, said she’s very proud of her 21-year-old son — a former swim team member during his junior and senior years in 1998 and 1999.

Eli learned to swim at age 2.




Ellsworth heard about her son’s efforts to rescue the Long Beach man found aboard his damaged sailboat from an e-mail message forwarded by Eli’s grandmother. His mother later saw television new coverage that showed her son, then found a news brief that ran in the Tahoe Daily Tribune Wednesday.

Her son, who’s temporarily stationed in San Diego, has been out to sea for six months. He’s commissioned as a meteorologist.

Apparently, Eli — who joined the U.S. Navy in October 1999 — has learned to weather many challenges and adventures.

His mother said her son also participated in a major drug bust at sea in April, which netted 2 tons of cocaine.

Ellsworth admitted she first discouraged her son from joining the armed forces, but she later gave in to his wishes.

She said she supports her son’s efforts, especially the weekold rescue of Richard Van Pham by the Navy warship, the McClusky.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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