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Tue Nov 27, 2012, 10:49 AM

 

California beach tragedy blamed on 'sneaker waves'

Source: AP

News of Saturday's tragedy shocked many in the small college town of Arcata on the rough Northern California coastline about 280 miles north of San Francisco.



By Jason Dearen
November 27, 2012

Howard Kuljian and his family were out for a walk on a damp, overcast morning at Big Lagoon beach, playing fetch with their dog Fran as 10-foot surf churned the water just feet away like a washing machine. Signs near the beach warned of "sneaker waves," the kind that suddenly roar ashore.

Kuljian tossed a stick that took the dog down to the water's edge, and in an instant, authorities said, a waveswallowed it, setting off a nightmarish scramble. "Everything kind of snowballed from there," said Coast Guard Lt. Bernie Garrigan.

Kuljian's 16-year-old son, Gregory, ran to save the dog, only to be captured by the surging surf himself. Kuljian, 54, followed, and then his wife, Mary Scott, 57. On shore, their 18-year-old daughter, Olivia, and Gregory's girlfriend could only watch.

Both parents' bodies were later recovered, but the boy presumed dead is still missing. The dog eventually made it back to shore.

Read more: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Latest-News-Wires/2012/1127/California-beach-tragedy-blamed-on-sneaker-waves

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Reply California beach tragedy blamed on 'sneaker waves' (Original post)
UnrepentantLiberal Nov 2012 OP
Poll_Blind Nov 2012 #1
Lex Nov 2012 #2
AngryAmish Nov 2012 #3
AtheistCrusader Nov 2012 #7
WilliamPitt Nov 2012 #8
Hassin Bin Sober Nov 2012 #13
devilgrrl Nov 2012 #18
LanternWaste Nov 2012 #19
Gormy Cuss Nov 2012 #4
meti57b Nov 2012 #5
peace13 Nov 2012 #14
DeschutesRiver Nov 2012 #23
nowim64 Nov 2012 #29
DeschutesRiver Nov 2012 #77
Peace Patriot Nov 2012 #76
DeschutesRiver Nov 2012 #78
BlueMan Votes Nov 2012 #26
DeschutesRiver Nov 2012 #81
Scairp Nov 2012 #87
slackmaster Nov 2012 #6
liberalhistorian Nov 2012 #16
slackmaster Nov 2012 #17
liberalhistorian Nov 2012 #52
slackmaster Nov 2012 #73
LanternWaste Nov 2012 #20
nowim64 Nov 2012 #33
hrmjustin Nov 2012 #36
DollarBillHines Nov 2012 #54
PavePusher Nov 2012 #86
DollarBillHines Nov 2012 #53
mike_c Nov 2012 #9
yellowcanine Nov 2012 #10
mimi85 Nov 2012 #85
Semi_subversive Nov 2012 #11
musiclawyer Nov 2012 #15
rwsanders Nov 2012 #12
coalition_unwilling Nov 2012 #21
tblue Nov 2012 #28
hollysmom Nov 2012 #31
coalition_unwilling Nov 2012 #32
abelenkpe Nov 2012 #55
kwassa Nov 2012 #70
frylock Nov 2012 #22
Taverner Nov 2012 #24
tabasco Nov 2012 #25
BlueMan Votes Nov 2012 #27
tabasco Nov 2012 #39
BlueMan Votes Nov 2012 #43
tabasco Nov 2012 #45
BlueMan Votes Nov 2012 #46
Beacool Nov 2012 #71
dionysus Nov 2012 #83
Beacool Nov 2012 #84
dionysus Nov 2012 #88
Beacool Nov 2012 #89
UnrepentantLiberal Nov 2012 #40
BlueMan Votes Nov 2012 #44
yardwork Nov 2012 #47
BlueMan Votes Nov 2012 #49
UnrepentantLiberal Nov 2012 #57
BlueMan Votes Nov 2012 #58
UnrepentantLiberal Nov 2012 #61
billh58 Nov 2012 #67
hollysmom Nov 2012 #30
adieu Nov 2012 #34
Posteritatis Nov 2012 #37
trekbiker Nov 2012 #35
Gregorian Nov 2012 #38
UnrepentantLiberal Nov 2012 #41
slackmaster Nov 2012 #42
yardwork Nov 2012 #48
LiberalAndProud Nov 2012 #50
devilgrrl Nov 2012 #51
Vanje Nov 2012 #56
Gregorian Nov 2012 #62
Rob H. Nov 2012 #59
Gormy Cuss Nov 2012 #60
Gregorian Nov 2012 #64
Gormy Cuss Nov 2012 #66
Starry Messenger Nov 2012 #63
Gregorian Nov 2012 #65
Starry Messenger Nov 2012 #68
DeschutesRiver Nov 2012 #79
Gregorian Nov 2012 #82
Irishonly Nov 2012 #69
Beacool Nov 2012 #72
Ash_F Nov 2012 #74
Warren DeMontague Nov 2012 #75
hunter Nov 2012 #80

Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 10:55 AM

1. I read about this recently and it's not the first time I've heard of someone trying to...

...rescue a pet, only to lose their life while the animal survives.

This...is an extremely scary example of that.

PB

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 10:57 AM

2. That's so tragic. Having grown up around the coast

I know that waves can be very unpredictable, especially when the surf is already rough, but that story is just unimaginable. And scary.


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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)


Response to AngryAmish (Reply #3)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 11:27 AM

7. Which is why you brought it up.

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Response to AngryAmish (Reply #3)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 11:30 AM

8. I take it you don't have children.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Reply #8)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 12:57 PM

13. I hope not.

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Response to AngryAmish (Reply #3)


Response to AngryAmish (Reply #3)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 02:53 PM

19. And factually incorrect...

"It would be completely heartless to call this evolution in action..."

And factually incorrect, signifying merely a self-validating motivation on the part of the speaker to advertise himself as more clever than the victims of accidents.

Although I imagine that applies to simply making the inference as well as stating it aloud.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 11:15 AM

4. For those who don't know, sneaker waves happen on both coasts

I grew up near the coast in ME and one of the earliest lessons we learned was never turn your back on the ocean -- always be aware of the surf and the tide. I live on the West Coast now and in areas where sneaker wave warnings are posted I'm very, very careful.

This poor family.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 11:20 AM

5. If my dog or cat were about to be killed, .... I would find it extremely difficult......

to not try to do something to save their life.

The best is to just be very aware of whether a situation has the potential to be dangerous, and if it is, .... then stay away from it.

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Response to meti57b (Reply #5)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 02:03 PM

14. Animals are better equipped to survive this type of thing.

We tend to forget this. What a sad outcome for the young women to live with.

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Response to meti57b (Reply #5)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 03:55 PM

23. I understand that, I'd have a struggle over it as well.

This has happened with such frequency here on the Oregon coastline that I have thought it through a lot. I spend weeks at the beach. But I will save myself first. I will feel a guilt I will never shake. I hope it never happens, but I try to console myself with the thought that I am far more likely to die in a car accident on the way to/from the beach, but still....

And I don't say that lightly, having rescued my dogs from various other unexpected near death situations over the decades...where it was perhaps foolish, but entirely possible to rescue my furkids. However, I have come to the painful conclusion that for me, a sneaker wave is a horrifically bad situation that is not possible for me to "fix", should my dogs or me become involved. I am convinced, having spent a lot of time on the Oregon coast. I hate it.

Sneaker waves can come at any time; a sunny day, the best you've ever seen on the shore. I've noticed there seem to be some stretches that have more than others, but that might be a myth. Apparently it happens more frequently during the outgoing tide. I do stay clear of beaches that have had it happen frequently enough that they put up a sign, though the signs are going up everywhere now. There are some beaches where the water is just flat out angry, for lack of a better word - I don't know if it makes a difference, but I don't walk beaches where the water is churning like that. They say to never turn your back to the water, esp. when you are around rocks and cliffs (they will throw you into them and can kill you that way). I am not sure how seeing the damned thing will help, myself. All of that said, the whole reason they are called "sneaker" is that there is absolutely nothing you can do to 100% guarantee you won't encounter one.

There have been a few teens killed in the last year, and people who tried to rescue their beloved dogs. I read that every year, 100 deaths occur on the west coast beaches from sneaker waves (California up through Oregon and Washington) - here is one with that statistic, and about an incident last year. If you google it, there are just horrifically sad stories out there, every darned year.

http://www.huliq.com/10282/teens-killed-sneaker-waves-along-oregon-coast-pacific-takes-more-lives

I could clearly imagine how it happened and all the feelings that must have gone through each person's mind. I wish it hadn't happened to them.

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Response to DeschutesRiver (Reply #23)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 05:18 PM

29. Please, Not again!

We've lived on the south coast of Oregon for 35 years and this scenario plays itself out over and over. DR is right; one cannot trust the ocean. Dogs, more often than not, are survivors in these incidents. Perhaps because their instinct takes over or they are stronger swimmers and maybe don't succumb to the cold water as quickly as humans.
My husband and I often warn parents when we see kids playing on beached logs and around large rocks and more often than not are greeted with eye rolling.
It's sad and I send comfort to the two young women who witnessed the tragedy and the loss of their family.

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Response to nowim64 (Reply #29)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 12:44 PM

77. Welcome to DU - and I spend some of my beach time

along the southern OR coast. It is my favorite part of the Oregon coastline.

I don't think I've seen too many human survivors of these things, but plenty of dogs, and I don't get it either.

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Response to DeschutesRiver (Reply #23)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 04:52 AM

76. "I am not sure how seeing the damned thing (the sea) will help...". That's easy!

You see the wave rise up, you RUN.

THAT'S why you're not supposed to turn your back on the sea. If you see it, you have a chance. If you don't see it, you LOSE those few seconds in which you might have reached safe ground.

You have surely seen people jump and dance around in comical ways when a wave unexpectedly hits their feet, while walking along a shore or standing on the sand. That instinctive reaction is what can save you if a "sneaker" wave is coming. You react. You run away. But if your back is to the sea, a "sneaker" wave can knock you down before you have that reaction. Also, if you are facing the sea, you can perhaps witness a "sneaker" wave or tumultuous conditions before a tragedy occurs--and thus be more alert and ready to run.

"Sneaker" waves can occur in apparently calm conditions, too, so we shouldn't rely on how the ocean is behaving--but slipping on rocks and those kinds of accidents are obviously more likely to occur if the sea is disturbed and throwing up big, crashing waves. Big, crashing waves? Don't go near rocks and other hazards. And AT ALL TIMES--calm sea or stormy sea--DON'T TURN YOUR BACK ON THE SEA!

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Response to Peace Patriot (Reply #76)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 12:49 PM

78. I was thinking of it from my older perspective, which doesn't allow for a ton of running, but that

is great advice for anyone who is able to run from a sneaker wave, or at least better position themselves. I often forget that there are a lot of people who maybe have never seen an ocean, or visit very infrequently so may not be aware of the some of the dangers that one should try to avoid if possible.

I don't turn my back, and always keep an eye on the water, but mainly in case I see a big piece of drift wood or something else being hurled my way. Not that I'd ignore a giant wave, but I am the age of the father who was killed, but probably am not in as good of shape. I'd run but I'd likely fall in the process if I had to do it fast enough to save my life. But sure, I'd be willing to try to make a run for it, just not optimistic about the outcome.

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Response to meti57b (Reply #5)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 04:49 PM

26. the proof is in the outcome.

 

the dog was the only one who wouldn't have needed to be rescued in the first place.

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Response to BlueMan Votes (Reply #26)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 02:24 PM

81. Easy to say that when we know the outcome.

I finally got the actual article up. It said the father threw the stick, which the dog went after. The child instinctively went to rescue the dog, which caused him to be caught up in those waves. Which drove the father to try to rescue his child.

Except the child was able to get back on shore...and then realize his father was in need of rescue in the waves, at which point he and his mother tried to find their father/husband. And they all died trying to save each other.

I am the age of that man - while I have taught myself that I will not try to overcome something that is likely insurmountable to rescue my dog, I do know something else about myself.

Which is that when I was 16, I would have done the same thing that kid did, without question, hesitation, or any thought but to save my dog, and later my own father. I know that at my age today, I would have done the same as the father and mother, if I believed I could save the life of someone I loved. It isn't rocket science, but apparently it isn't a universal thing given some of the replies here.

Thinking it is a Darwin moment merely by using the bad outcome as the determining factor doesn't make sense, because hindsight isn't a factor when a person is in the middle of a thing like this. Would you have the same opinion had the kid be able to rescue his father as he and his mother tried to do?

A kid just doesn't have the years on him yet to have formed his/her own opinion about doing something like this based on actual experiences or learning, ie judgment/wisdom. That is why we call them kids. That said, I've found it true that some people even as kids have an instinct to do things like this, while others wouldn't put themselves on the line even if rescue was entirely possible.

All I see here is that this kid had the a strong urge inside himself to try to save his dog, and then after crawling back up safely on the shore, to return to try to rescue his dad. He didn't think of the risk to self, but instead that he might succeed in saving what he loved from death.

I am just not seeing the Darwin award aspect in the fact that despite his courage, the rescue failed. I read about and even know many rescuers who don't succeed, but I don't call them stupid for trying.

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Response to meti57b (Reply #5)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 05:51 AM

87. Ok here we go

I love animals. I have a dog I would do anything medically for to save her life should it be required, a cat that is a little on the mean side but same deal. A rabbit who I adopted not that long ago and still doesn't like me very much and we found a praying mantis that seemed to have an issue with using one of it's front legs so we put in a habitat and have been feeding it crickets for about 4 months now. It laid two egg sacs. If my house caught on fire and I got everyone out safely but the house was fully engulfed with no way of going back in without dying to try to save any or all of these creatures, I would not even consider doing it. Would it be ok to allow my 7 year old to watch me die over the dog, the cat, the rabbit or the mantis? Of course not. It is insanity to assign humanity to animals, as if their lives are as valuable as our family. Too many people who have commented on this story on other sites say the parents went into the water to save the son AND the dog. No, they didn't. Or if the kid hadn't surely the parents would have tried to go after JUST the dog themselves. I really hope that isn't true & as a parent I'm pretty sure they would not have, but of course don't know for sure. My head explodes when someone says their animals are their "children". No, they're not, your children are your children and animals are animals. They bring us joy, grief, companionship and for some a sense of purpose. They are not human. You do not run into a sure death with your children watching to rescue an animal. Or even if they aren't watching. And in reality that isn't what happened here. The kid did go after the dog, the PARENTS went in after their son, not the dog. I understand the boy did manage to get back to the beach, only to see his father go under, at which time the mother and son went back into the water for the father, and they are all dead. And by the way, the dog saved itself in the end. Please everyone, learn something from this.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 11:23 AM

6. Not to blame the victims for being naive, but I blame the naivete of the victims

 

I engaged in body surfing for a good portion of my younger life and have spent a lot of time on the shore observing the dynamics of the ocean. They were unwise to be so close to the shore in those conditions, and even worse encouraging their dog to go into the water.

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Response to slackmaster (Reply #6)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 02:20 PM

16. Why am I not surprised to find you

expressing such sentiments, and why am I especially not surprised to find you making no expression of sadness over such a horrific tragedy (and especially for the young woman who had to watch her entire family be swallowed up before her eyes when she could do nothing about it or for them)?

Let me tell you something. I am an educated, thoughtful, middle-class lady who is not naive or stupid. Yet I, and almost everyone else I know, did not even know about sneaker waves or other such conditions, and may very well have done the same thing as this family. The only people I know who may have been more savvy are those who've grown up near or by the oceans. We cannot all be as brilliant and perfect as you, you know. My, such a warm, caring heart you have there. Gag.

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Response to liberalhistorian (Reply #16)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 02:22 PM

17. I hope that reading about this tragedy has taught you something. It could save your life.

 

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Response to slackmaster (Reply #17)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 07:56 PM

52. Condescending much?

Yes, it has, indeed. But then again, I'm not that crazy about oceans and their beaches (or most beaches, for that matter) and considering that I live well over a thousand miles from the nearest ocean beach and have no plans or money to visit one soon anyway, it'd kind of a moot point right now.

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Response to liberalhistorian (Reply #52)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 11:19 PM

73. You're just being rude, and I can forgive that given that given the emotional nature of the issue

 

I'm not that crazy about oceans and their beaches (or most beaches, for that matter) and considering that I live well over a thousand miles from the nearest ocean beach and have no plans or money to visit one soon anyway, it'd kind of a moot point right now.

Yes, it is.

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Response to liberalhistorian (Reply #16)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 03:08 PM

20. By this point in time, I'd be surprised if anyone was indeed, surprised by the sentiment implied...

By this point in time, I'd be surprised if anyone was indeed, surprised by the sentiment implied in the response. Many people appear to be unaware that quite often... rather often, accidents happen, and that blame often becomes counter-productive rather than assistance.

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Response to liberalhistorian (Reply #16)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 05:40 PM

33. Sorry, but..

most beaches up and down the coast are posted with warnings. Huge billboard-like, illustrated signs, with very detailed 'what and why'! Visitors are urged in very plain language and illustrations to exercise caution.
Believe what you read. Kids are so impulsive and and adults can be naive/careless.
I learned the hard way, almost loosing one of our sons and his cousin when a small wave knocked them down, soaking their warm jackets. If an adult hadn't been standing right there with them they would have been pulled out to sea when another larger wave swept in. They couldn't get back on their feet fast enough.
Extreme caution is necessary while visiting the Oregon/Washington beaches, particularly during storms, high tide and rough seas. A benign looking wave can move a huge log, pinning a victim underneath it in seconds or knocking down an large man.
Beautiful, but treacherous.

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Response to nowim64 (Reply #33)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 05:50 PM

36. Welcome to DU!

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Response to liberalhistorian (Reply #16)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 08:00 PM

54. In reality, there are warning signs everywhere on that beach

This is surely a tragedy, but one that could have been avoided by exercising any common sense.

I imagine the kid was trying to impress his girlfriend and was caught up in the moment.

I know that beach and it is treacherous.

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Response to liberalhistorian (Reply #16)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 03:06 AM

86. So, you are niave about rough water conditions.

 

Nothing inherently wrong with that, it's not a common phenomena for many people.

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Response to slackmaster (Reply #6)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 07:57 PM

53. I know this beach. There are signs everywhere warning against precisely what happened.

The kid was probably overcome by testosterone and trying to impress his girlfriend.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 11:58 AM

9. this was a terrible tragedy....

Every year we lose folks up here to waves they didn't see coming or just got too close to. Three members of the same family is just tragic, especially since these were residents who presumably knew better than to be caught unawares, but who died trying to rescue one another.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 12:03 PM

10. Most dogs are going to save themselves.

Generally any dog comfortable enough to chase a stick into the water is going to be able to swim back to shore on its own. I would not go into the water after a dog in this situation.

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Response to yellowcanine (Reply #10)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 01:46 AM

85. Most dogs is right, except

for English Bulldogs. Our sweet ole Maggie who lived to be almost 13 would've sunk in a nano-second. They're way too top heavy. But then again, we didn't take her around water. When you see the YT pics of surfing bulldogs, that's more of an anomaly than not. Of course, they seem to have the dogs securely tethered to the board and wearing a life jacket.

Sad story, how awful for the remainder of the family. And the guilt must be overwhelming, though I can certainly understand just reacting without time to think it through.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 12:29 PM

11. We spent Thanksgiving just a few miles to the south

in Trinidad. The weather was beautiful, but the waves at the nearby state and county beaches looked treacherous. The area is known for its riptides, so if you get swept out, it's not good news. I probably would have tried to save my dog, too. I'm glad to know now that she could have a better chance of saving herself without human intervention. My sincere condolences to the family.

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Response to Semi_subversive (Reply #11)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 02:06 PM

15. I intend up retire in Arcata

The beaches all around there are majestic. But local kids I talked to seem to know when not to even get close to the water

Sorry the family did not

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 12:30 PM

12. I was stationed in CA with the USCG and this is something the public needs to be more aware of...

I'm from MO and any little bump here, or hill over 3 ft. seems to come with fences and warning signs. Not so in the rest of the country, if you get close to nature, you must exercise caution.
I was stationed at the 11th district headquarters and one of my jobs was to review message traffic to pass any significant developments to the captain of my division. It seem that incidents like this (sneaker waves) occured almost monthly. Diving accidents had a similar rate on the CA coast. With the waves it was most often someone climbing out on the rocks. I remember reading of one USCG member who saw a family wading in the water and he ran to warn them just as a wave caught them. He rescued 2.
When I lived in the Carolinas, the problem there was waterfalls and people wanting to wade into them or climb to the edge for a better look.
This case is especially sad as they did it out of care for their dog and I'd have trouble not doing the same thing myself. Thought I was going to have to one day at a lake here, but our puppy thought better of a long swim and came back to shore on her own.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 03:14 PM

21. My wife and I frequently walk a 1.5 mile strech of beach in Venice Beach and

 

Marina del Rey (inside the normally placid Santa Monica Bay). We have occasionally been alarmed to see parents allowing their toddlers to play very close to water's edge while parents sat a few feet away in the loose sand, because we have ourselves been smacked by waves that seem to come out of nowhere. They usually catch only our feet or the bottoms of our pants legs, but a toddler sitting there could easily be snatched up and taken out to sea before parents had a chance to rescue the child.

We go back and forth as to whether to say anything to the parents and usually do not, for fear of being accused of meddling and being busy-bodies. But it scares the shit out of us quite frankly.

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #21)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 05:03 PM

28. I would butt in and warn them.

Who cares if they are offended? Your educating them could save a life.

I remember being a kid playing on the beach and enjoying the undertow. I never heard if sneaker waves until today, but I still can't imagine letting a child play around with the unpredictable ocean.

So very tragic for that family. I am not a beach person and never will be. What a terrible loss.

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Response to tblue (Reply #28)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 05:30 PM

31. that is a great thought, but some people ignore warnings in a moment of crisis.

As for being offended - people get offended over any little thing. My deal is to warn people who send toddlers with food for the canadian geese, that obviously outweigh the child. During hatching season and with the little geese, I try and warn these people to not put their kids in danger as these geese are protective of their young and will protect them by attacking. You have no idea how many people hae ignored me or said rude things and then ignored me. I fear for the day when I child is seriously injured feeding these geese.

In the end, I found that saying that the geese have fleas is the best way to discourage things, no one wants fleas, I wonder what could convince people to stay out of water. Sharks?

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Response to tblue (Reply #28)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 05:35 PM

32. Yeah, we go back and forth. There are quite a few hazards down there, aside from waves, ranging

 

from beached jellyfish (that can still wield a mean sting) to shards of broken glass and beer cans. Now that I've read this story I think my wife and I will be a little less circumspect

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #21)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 08:01 PM

55. Yeah, you ever see me too far away from my kids please say something

I'm usually right there with them but lately they run down to the water before I can even finish dropping our tote.

I'm gonna tell them this story tonite to see if maybe they'll wait a second next time

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #21)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 10:43 PM

70. I was hurt bodysurfing in Marina Del Rey

and I thought myself a strong swimmer.

I am quite aware that waves come in sets, but wasn't observant enough.

As I caught a good wave, and it crested, I looked down, and saw bare sand instead of a foamy retreating wave, and I knew I was in serious trouble. I barely got my elbows out in front of me before I was smashed in the sand, then flipped and thrown around. I felt like my arms were almost popped out of their sockets, and I was rolled and crushed against the bottom.

I crawled out of the ocean, and spent the rest of the day studying it. The Marina beach has a steep incline, and the waves rise up suddenly and crash. That is the universal component of the problem, the angle of the beach.

I have been at other beaches in the past 20 years where I have seen similar wave conditions. I warned several swimmers at one beach, yet saw others hurt further up the beach. The lifeguards don't get it, which I find amazing.

I know one man permanently crippled, and another who lost months of his life in therapy and braces. But they are alive.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 03:30 PM

22. tossing a stick in the water with 10' shorebreak..

smh at that.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 04:40 PM

24. Fucking tragic. Fuck.

 

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 04:49 PM

25. Brave boy who tried to save a beloved fellow creature in danger

The boy is a hero and our species needs more like him -- and less like the poster above who derided him.

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Response to tabasco (Reply #25)


Response to BlueMan Votes (Reply #27)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 06:48 PM

39. I'm glad I'm not like you.

You sound like a very common, average person. I'm an infantry combat vet. I know a bit about danger and heroism.

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Response to tabasco (Reply #39)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 07:01 PM

43. believe me- the feeling is mutual.

 

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Response to BlueMan Votes (Reply #43)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 07:17 PM

45. Good.

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Response to tabasco (Reply #45)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 07:18 PM

46. exactly.

 

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Response to BlueMan Votes (Reply #43)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 11:10 PM

71. I saw your previous message.

Give the kid a break, he was only 16 years old.

RIP

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Response to Beacool (Reply #71)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 01:20 AM

83. where have you been.. hmmm?

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Response to dionysus (Reply #83)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 01:30 AM

84. I've been around.

How about you?

My town got hit pretty hard by Sandy. Half of the town flooded. Lucky for me I'm on high ground, but we had no power for almost a week. I didn't have to go to work for almost 2 weeks (no complaints about that, though).

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Response to Beacool (Reply #84)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 01:32 PM

88. while you've been out carousing, i've been knitting!



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Response to dionysus (Reply #88)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 02:21 PM

89. Ooohhh, a bunny banky!!!!!

I could have used that bunny during the cold, dark nights caused by Sandy's wrath.

It's lovely!!!

Thanks, sweetie.

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Response to BlueMan Votes (Reply #27)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 06:50 PM

40. This should be a short stay.

 

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Reply #40)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 07:02 PM

44. ???

 

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Response to BlueMan Votes (Reply #27)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 07:29 PM

47. I can't believe that you actually posted that you're glad that a sixteen year old boy is dead.

And his parents. You're GLAD that three people are dead because....you think that it's a good thing that there are three fewer people on the planet, "considering the over-population of the planet."

So the boy is not a hero in your eyes because he didn't realize that it was dangerous (you assume - you have no idea what actually happened, but based on your quick reading of a news report you assume that the boy didn't know what he was doing) and therefore it's a good thing that he's dead?

Wow.

Oh, and somebody who is very close to the family is posting in this thread. Wait til they see you post.

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Response to yardwork (Reply #47)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 07:37 PM

49. mom always said to always look for the silver lining...

 

they might qualify for Darwin Awards.

and hopefully some ocean-walking dog owners can learn something from their mistakes and misfortune and avoid repeating it.

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Response to BlueMan Votes (Reply #49)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 08:12 PM

57. And now doubling down with a Darwin Awards joke

 

after being told he was a cousin of someone posting in this thread.

You're a swell guy.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Reply #57)



Response to BlueMan Votes (Reply #58)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 09:26 PM

67. You obviously weren't told

about the decency thing, or about being an obnoxious asshole either. It seems that you're the one who qualifies for a Darwin Award for being so socially inept and uncivil.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 05:23 PM

30. I know waves are unpredictable and a strong one can come at any moment

But I don't think I have been in any area with sneaker waves. Just once in a while fast and far waves, followed by normal ones. The surf sounds really rough, rougher than anything I have been near.

I remember sitting on the beach with my brother as a child, when a strong wave came and washed my baby brother out, I ran out and got him, but it was not that rough and we both made it out with out too much trouble since he never got sucked back into the ocean, but was still being washed out by this long wave and had not reached the first breakers yet. I was pretty fast as a child, not so much now.

It is frightening to think how close to danger we live each day. If it were my dog, it would depend on how rough the surf was, if it were someones, child, I am not sure, I think I would try to do something but it would depend on what was available on the beach as well. Thankfully, with cell phones, we do have a way of getting help soon.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 05:40 PM

34. People generally underestimate the power of the sea

Many years ago, a medical doctor who was an acquaintance of my (now) ex-wife stood atop some rocks near the waters off Monterey Bay. Big wave crashed over him and he was gone, probably slammed against the rocks below. My cousin, an expert scuba diver, was hit by a wave as he was adjusting his equipment. Took him under, and after several minutes, came up unresponsive. Lived in a coma for about 10 years before passing.

I'm not a strong swimmer, so I always keep a lot of distance between me and the water's edge, and I respect the water very much.

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Response to adieu (Reply #34)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 05:56 PM

37. A cubic meter of water weighs one ton

It's very, very easy for that to slip someone's mind - or not to occur to them in the first place. When you add momentum to that...

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 05:44 PM

35. surf fishing

I surf fished for many years on the Calif coast and encountered many sneaker waves in different sizes and shapes. By surf fishing I dont mean the guys with the huge poles and pyramid sinkers sitting way up on the sand, I mean full waders and out in the water fishing the rips and holes. Looking at that photo that is a steep beach, common in winter. Steep beaches are the worst (but also some of the best surf fishing as the fish are in real close). On steep beaches the waves break closer, the undertow is fast and strong and many times I had to run for it. You can go from ankle deep to chest deep in an instant (worst I ever got caught was waist deep and that almost took me down). Never take your eyes off the ocean if you are in or near the water.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 06:27 PM

38. I just read this. Howard was my cousin. One of my favorite people in the world.

He named his son after me.

I'm still in shock. I hadn't heard about it because everyone thought I already knew.

He had an old Victorian he had renovated, and property that backed up to the trails in Arcata where he would run. And he just got a forest service job that he had wanted for a long time, so he could be in the forest.

I'm at a loss. It's really devastating.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #38)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 06:54 PM

41. Sorry to hear this.

 

That's really awful.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #38)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 07:01 PM

42. I'm sorry for your loss Gregorian. I lost a cousin in the Pacific two years ago.

 

Heart valve failure while SCUBA diving with friends. He was 50 years old.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #38)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 07:31 PM

48. I'm so sorry.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #38)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 07:42 PM

50. How sad.

I'm so sorry.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #38)


Response to Gregorian (Reply #38)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 08:08 PM

56. I was already terribly saddened reading about it.

Even more so, now.

So very very sorry.

Also , I'm sorry that you may have read some callous posts above.
These people find false comfort in thinking such a thing could never happen to them. They think living scared will save them from misfortune. Pity them.

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Response to Vanje (Reply #56)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 09:18 PM

62. Thanks. And to everyone else. The comments don't bother me at all.

In fact I also had the same thoughts about it when I read the title. Oh, probably some dumb fool. Well, I sure found out.

My dad was saying that maybe when someone is too good for this place they have to go early. Howard really was that good of a person.

It's all so temporary. Sometimes we forget that it's just a fleeting moment.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #38)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 08:27 PM

59. I'm so sorry, Gregorian

I don't really know what else to say.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #38)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 08:31 PM

60. Condolences to you and the rest of his family.

I can't imagine what his daughter is going through right now.

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Response to Gormy Cuss (Reply #60)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 09:20 PM

64. I know. His father died just a year or so ago. And his mother is still alive. He was her only son.

I can't imagine what she must be going through.

And the daughter has only her boyfriend and the dog. I'm in a state of disbelief. But life often has curves that we didn't expect.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #64)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 09:25 PM

66. I hope that the grandmother and granddaughter have a good relationship.

She's going to need a lot of emotional support to get her through this. It's so hard to deal with so much loss all at once. I hope that her brother's body is found soon.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #38)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 09:20 PM

63. ((Gregorian))

Peace to you and your family. I'm very sorry.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #63)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 09:24 PM

65. I keep thinking about how it could have been worse.

It may sound odd. But at least his daughter is grown now. She was a child the last time I saw her. And my first thought was who is going to take care of her. But in a way it's comforting to know she had a full childhood with her parents. Man, it's hard to believe how fast life can change.

We just never expect things like this.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #65)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 09:35 PM

68. No, we never do expect them.

I just had a young student lose her mom this year, before high school graduation, so I know what you are saying.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #65)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 01:42 PM

79. I am so very sorry for your loss. Am on dialup so just got the story up

Seeing how it unfolded, it seems that once it had begun, it was unavoidable that your family members would devote their last minutes on this earth to trying to save each other. I am also sad that the remaining child had to see it all. I have my own "last moment memories", and for quite awhile they can consume a person to the point that all you remember is that horrific end of life, with all your good memories fading in the face of those last moments. There are good things I can't remember anymore because I focused so much on the horror of the bad ending. I wish I'd expressed my deep grief by also revisiting all my favorite memories, instead of searing my mind with the images of the end. You almost can't help it, like any post traumatic stress situation. It is going to be tough for her.

My dh lost the entire family he grew up in - mom, then dad, then his younger brother - when he was in his 20s but over a 2 year period. Becoming an orphan at a young age is shocking, but so much more so when it happens all at once in front of you.

I think if we all focused on how brutish and random life really can be in a blink of an eye, it would be hard to hold on to any happiness. Change of this sort, ie an immediate new normal on a life altering scale, is shocking in its swiftness & finality. While we probably live happier from day to day by not focusing on this aspect of life, it doesn't make it a whit easier in the moment when it hits us out of the blue like this.

I hope some peace of mind can be returned to your family eventually, and that this girl can overcome the effects of this event as her life progresses.

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Response to DeschutesRiver (Reply #79)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 05:11 PM

82. I personally find this to be a very interesting topic.

One of the reasons I didn't get to know Howard better is that he didn't have the negative encumbrance that I have. I just couldn't submit him to it. My story is that ever since about 1970 I have been in a state of horror over what has been happening to the planet. Most people are barely waking up due to Gore, and the unavoidable news regarding global warming. It consumes nearly all of my thoughts. I've tried so hard to escape it by moving to rural areas on farms or ranches. But eventually it has consumed everything. It's hard to find a place in the country that doesn't have some monument to materialism. A Craigslist of properties in the Portland Oregon area reveals the smallest houses on average are over 4000 square feet. I'm appalled by the seemingly unconscious idiots who have destroyed the planet. It feels like I've had to watch my own mother being raped in front of me. And I'm in the small minority of those who care, let alone even see it.

So translating this over to personal tragedy is easy for me to see. I've had almost no personal tragedy in my life. I've had everything. Beautiful properties, parents living well into their 80's now. Growing up in a place completely liberal. Access to the finest educations.

What I'm finding out is that what you said is important. Only this week, at nearly 60 years old, I made a conscious decision to turn my life around. I'm on what I consider to be a selfish path. I am going to empower my life. I hate to admit that this translates to making money. I always shied away from it, even when handed the chance. But now I am turning my mind away from the ugliness and doing what I have to do. It really is selfish. But the alternative is that I care about things I can't change. When I was still a kid my best friend said that I'm good at dying on the cross. As if I were able to take on the world's problems.

So now I see how that girl is going to have to live her life. I used to hate this kind of thinking. But there is no alternative. Drinking ones self to death, worrying, anxiety, sorrow. I've tried those.

Life is a curveball. I just discovered I have a bat.

Thank you. I'm appreciative that you care.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #38)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 09:45 PM

69. I am sorry

It's such a tragic loss. I wish you peace.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #38)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 11:15 PM

72. I'm so sorry for your loss and that you had to find out about it this way.

To lose a loved one is hard enough, but to lose three at the same time is unimaginable. Words fail me. My thoughts and prayers go out to you, Olivia and the rest of the family.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #38)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 11:20 PM

74. I'm sorry for your loss

My heartfelt condolences to you and your family.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #38)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 02:48 AM

75. I'm very, very sorry for your loss, too.

What a tragic story. I can't imagine.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 01:53 PM

80. Sneaker wave at Mavericks...



Warning sign typical of some California coastal beaches:



As a drunken college student I once got ground up against a cliff pretty badly by one of these things. If I'd been a little bit drunker or I'd smacked my head against the rocks I wouldn't be writing this, even though I was a good swimmer and comfortable body surfing larger waves.

I've also gone into rough seas I ought to have avoided and fallen off the faces of waves into rocks or sand.

"The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence." --Will Rogers

In my testosterone poisoned youth I was one who learned the difficult way that moving water is powerful.



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