Categorized | Local, SoHum

Deadly Wave Claims Life at Shelter Cove

 

Fourth Drowning Tragedy on North Coast this Winter

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

A woman was swept out to sea by a large wave and drowned at Shelter Cove yesterday in the second such
incident claiming four Humboldt County lives this winter.

Humboldt County Coroner David Parris identified the victim as Susan Kay Archer, 32-years-old, a resident of Shelter Cove.

Her body was brought to shore after a roughly 45-minute search by Coast Guard boat and helicopter.  Attempts to revive her with CPR were unsuccessful, Parris said.

Archer was walking on a rocky beach near her home with her boyfriend and dog as they do on most mornings.  They approached several rocks jutting out of Black Sands beach and waited for the water to recede before crossing around them.

black sand beach2Archer and the couple’s dog had just made it around the other side when a wave crashed onto shore much faster than they had been expecting, Parris and the Times-Standard reported.  That’s when she was abruptly swept into the ocean.

Her dog was pulled into the water but was able to swim back to shore.  Her boyfriend was hurt when he was thrown against the shoreline rocks but he wasn’t swept up into the wave, officials said.  He suffered severe cuts and lacerations but was able to call 911 after scrambling to higher ground.

The waves were particularly hazardous yesterday and ranged from 10-15 feet, the Shelter Cove Volunteer Fire Department reported.

Authorities are warning beach-goers to stay away from the water’s edge and watch out for “sneaker waves” that can suddenly roar ashore. 

wave“The entire shoreline of Northern California is very dangerous at this time of year,” Parris said.  ”These waves can sneak up on you so quickly that you don’t have the ability to swim or recover.”

The tragedy is the fourth drowning mishap in the past few months in Humboldt County.

In November, Howard and Mary Scott Kuljian drowned and their 16-year-old son Gregory disappeared trying to save their dog at a beach near Big Lagoon.  The dog was chasing a thrown stick when it got pulled into the ocean by 8- to 10-foot
waves.

* * * * * * *

(Posted by Skippy Massey)

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