A boater apparently attempting to enter Ventura Harbor from an ill-advised direction, nearly struck a surfer before capsizing in a wave, momentarily trapping he and his two young sons under the boat.

Chris Papaleo was videotaping his friends surfing when the frightening scene unfolded in front of him on the semi-popular Southern California beachbreak, according to KTLA and Surfline.

"He just got really close to the surf," Papaleo told KTLA. "He had a little child in the front of the boat. They started to tip over and the little kid went overboard first. The dude driving it just completely lost control. Almost hit my friend."

That would be Eithan Osborne.

"I came up from duck-diving and saw the boat coming straight at me," Osborne told Surfline. "The boat flipped a couple of feet in front of me, and when I came up I saw the dad panicking and one of the two kids pop up but didn't see the other.

"So I swam to the boat as fast as I could and realized he was stuck underneath it. I put all my weight on the one side of the boat and almost flipped it over. Then the kid swam out the open side."

Osborne and Micky Clarke, both 16-year-olds, immediately rescued the two boys, who were wearing adult-sized life jackets.

"It looked like they were drowning in those things," Papaleo told Surfline.

Clarke paddled one of the boys to shore on his surfboard with the boy holding on to his leash.

"He was holding on to my leash even when I was on the shore; in ankle-deep water he was stilled gripped on to my leash," Clarke told KTLA. "I said it's `OK we're on shore' and he's like `Thank you.'"

The second boy was initially put on a borrowed paddleboard before Osborne retrieved his board and paddled the other boy to safety.

Meanwhile, the father inexplicably remained with the boat.

"He was more concerned about his motors and his boat than his kids," Papaleo told Surfline. "At least that's what it seemed like."

Added Osborne, "The dad wouldn't move from his boat, so I told him, 'Screw you, I'm taking your kids to the beach!' I put both the kids on my board and started kicking them in, then my friend Micky paddled over and took one of the kids and helped bring them to shore. It was pretty sketchy, but it felt good to do the right thing."

Initially, Ventura Harbor Patrol questioned and released the boater, but after seeing the video, it launched an investigation over the reckless operation of a boat.

A harbor patrol spokesman told KTLA the boater should have attempted entering the harbor from the other direction where a set of buoys direct boaters safely in.

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