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Tue Nov 27, 2012, 10:49 AM

 

California beach tragedy blamed on 'sneaker waves' [View all]

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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