The sea has no mercy, tragedy at North Beach

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Today a 59 year old man was swept into the surf at North Beach as he attempted to rescue his wife and dog, both of whom had been knocked over by large waves.

Others nearby pulled the woman and dog from the surf. The man was seen for a short while, then not again for 5 hours when his lifeless body was pulled from the sea by the Coast Guard.

After hearing many sirens roar by my place, more than on a usual call-out, and needing to dispose of a large amount of beach trash, I headed out that way.

Standing next to one of the law enforcement rangers I know, I saw again and again as people, young and old, with and without dogs, walked very, very low on a steep beach when enormous waves were breaking nearby. The LE went down twice to warn people of the dangers, as dozens of emergency workers scanned the surf, looking for the missing man.

I walk the beaches as much or more than anyone I know. Only a couple times have I gotten into trouble with the water. I am more worried about the cliffs above me crumbling down onto me. With heavy rains and high surf, the cliffs are under a two-pronged attack. More than a few times have I felt the whoosh, and smelt the raw scent of wet earth as the cliffs above me exploded and dropped around me.

As the sergeant used to say on on that cop show long ago when he dismissed the cops after the morning meeting: “Be careful out there!”

My condolences to his family.

Coast Guard helo searching for victim over North Beach.

Coast Guard helo and cutter searching for victim at North Beach.

Coast Guard helo searching for victim over North Beach.

Experienced beach-walkers, these willets know to keep an eye on the sea at all times.

One thought on “The sea has no mercy, tragedy at North Beach

  1. As a fellow avid beach hiker, I too have had little trouble with the surf. It’s not by happenstance. I watch the waves like a hawk but even so have been caught off guard.

    When my son was about 4 years-old we hiked to a remote beach cove here on the Sonoma Coast. I hadn’t checked the tide book and wasn’t paying attention when the waves began rolling into the small cove trapping us on both sides with a sheer cliff to our backs. We had to scramble over rocks. It was frightening. I felt like such an irresponsible lame parent not thinking through our circumstances. It was a wake up call to pay attention, do my homework, and respect the sea.

    Living at the coast we witness an alarming amount of Coast Guard and Reach helicopter activity during tourist season. With all of the signs warning about the dangers of rouge waves people still get caught off guard. This is such a sad story to read but worth sharing . . . it may save a life.

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