Family Swept to Sea While Trying to Rescue Dog

Parents die, search for son called off
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 26, 2012 2:30 PM CST
Stock image of waves.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A Northern California tragedy appears to have claimed the lives of three family members: The Coast Guard ended a search today for a teenager whose parents were killed when the three all tried to rescue their dog from powerful surf Saturday. Powerful, 10-foot waves pulled the dog into the ocean as it ran to retrieve a stick at Big Lagoon, north of Eureka. The 16-year-old boy went after the dog, prompting his father to attempt a rescue. The teenager was able to get out of the waves but then went back into the water with his mother in search of his father. "Both were dragged into the ocean," says a state parks district superintendent.

The couple's daughter called police, and the dog got out of the water on its own. Rescuers eventually retrieved the mother's body, and the father's body washed ashore. The Coast Guard says the search for the teenager was stopped because a person without a wetsuit could not survive for long in the surf because of the frigid waters. Signs are posted near the beach parking lot warning beachgoers not to turn their back to the surf, and to pay special attention to "sneaker waves," or swells that can seemingly appear from nowhere and violently smash onto the beach.

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