A Northern California man was killed on his birthday after being swept off a rock by a “sneaker wave” on a beach near Trinidad. It was the first of two serious rogue wave incidents on the northern Pacific coast last weekend.
Andrew “Drew” Machi, 39, of Ione, Calif., was fishing off rocks north of Luffenholtz Beach on Friday when a large wave knocked him off his feet and into the water. According to the family’s GoFundMe page, Machi’s wife, Brandie, jumped into the surf and tried to rescue him, but strong waves kept “throwing her back into the rocks.”
After being notified of the incident, the Coast Guard deployed a helicopter to the scene. Machi’s body was located by a Coast Guard swimmer, hoisted into the helicopter and flown to Mad River Hospital.
“The coroner said he believes he hit his head on rocks and was knocked out,” Brandie Machi’s sister, Jamie Tracey, wrote on the fundraiser page.
Drew Machi reportedly worked for PG&E as a lineman. He and his family had been visiting the Humboldt County coast while on vacation.
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A day after the tragic incident a woman relaxing on a beach in Manzanita, Ore., was seriously injured when a sneaker wave struck a log she was sitting on.
The surge of water lifted the log, initially estimated as weighing about 1,000 pounds, causing it roll over on top of her, Nehalem Bay Fire Chief Perry Sherbaugh told the Tillamook Headlight Herald. Fortunately, a rescue crew was able to move the log and free her.
KATU in Portland on Tuesday identified the woman as Heathyr Croasmun, 44. The station said she suffered 13 broken ribs and a fractured tailbone, and was in fair condition.
“It only takes a few inches of water to move those large logs and a one ton or two ton log is often non-survivable,” Sherbaugh told the Headlight Herald. “Fortunately, she made it out, but it could have been a fatal situation.”
While wave-related log injuries are not common, rangers and other authorities cautioned people to avoid large logs while exploring the shoreline.
Beach-goers, especially those with small children, should always keep their eyes peeled for strong rogue waves.
“Never turn your back on the ocean” goes the saying, attributed to Hawaiian surfing pioneer Duke Kahanamoku.
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This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Sneaker-wave-kills-man-on-his-birthday-in-13718183.php.