SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) – Unusually high Pacific waves battered beaches from El Salvador to Mexico and carried people out to sea, prompting authorities in some places to order swimmers out of the water Tuesday. At least two people were killed.

Waves topping 10 feet swept away a dozen swimmers near La Libertad on Monday, 10 of whom were plucked from the water by boats and a helicopter, Green Cross emergency worker Jose Larin said. A 35-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy were killed.

El Salvador’s government said “to avoid swimming at our beaches due to the risk.”

Interior Minister Miguel Bolanos told a news conference Tuesday.

Hundreds of miles to the north in Mexico, 16 people were rescued after being carried away by high surf in the resorts of Acapulco and Mazatlan. Lifeguards in Mazatlan ordered swimmers out of the water, local media reported.

The large waves may be the result of swells generated last week by a powerful storm thousands of miles away off the western coast of South America, said U.S. National Weather Service meteorologist Dennis Feltgen.

“It was a very impressive storm, and that storm, of course, is long dissipated,” Feltgen said. “However, the swells from that wave action would have been going out, and it generally takes about a week’s time to get from there to the Mexican, El Salvador or Costa Rican coast.”

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