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Man Dies on Birthday After Being Hit by Wave

'Sneaker' wave pulled Andrew Machi into the water on California beach
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2019 7:35 AM CDT
In this Dec. 11, 2014, file photo, high waves crash on the shore at Rockaway Beach, Ore.   (Bruce Ely/The Oregonian via AP, File)

(Newser) – What was supposed to be a relaxing day fishing on his 39th birthday turned to tragedy for a California man, who died after a rogue wave pulled him into the water. The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office tells KRCR that Andrew Machi was casting lines on March 22 at Luffenholtz Beach in Trinidad, Calif., his wife and three kids nearby, when he was suddenly knocked off the rocks he was standing on and into the water by a "sneaker" wave—a type of wave said to "appear without warning, often surging high up on the beach with deadly force." Per a GoFundMe set up by the sister of Machi's wife, Brandie, "Brandie jumped in and tried to save him," but he was too far away from her, "and the water was throwing her back into the rocks."

The San Francisco Chronicle reports a Coast Guard helicopter was dispatched to the scene, and a rescuer was able to locate Machi, who was taken to a local hospital. "Coroner said he believes he hit his head on rocks and was knocked out," Brandie's sister writes on GoFundMe. Fox News notes a similar incident involving a sneaker wave seriously injured a woman in Oregon a day after what happened to Machi. "NEVER turn your back on the ocean!" a local rescue agency warns in a Facebook post about the Oregon incident. A celebration of Machi's life will be held on April 13. "To say he is devoted to his family is an understatement," Machi's obituary reads. "Drew is, was, and always will be the center of his family." (Read more freak accident stories.)

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