A California man was swept to sea and killed on Tuesday, after trying to save his dog from drowning at Point Reyes National Seashore, CBS News reported.
Charles Quaid, 59, and his wife were taking a walk on the popular beach just after noon on New Year’s day with their dog, when a rogue wave overtook the canine. When Quaid attempted to swim out and rescue the dog, he was overtaken by another wave. Both Quaid’s wife and their dog survived without sustaining any injuries, the news report said.
According to Marin County Fire Department Battalion Chief Mike Giannini, two Coast Guard helicopters and two boats searched for Quaid for several hours, along with the California Highway Patrol and local fire crews. They located his body around 4 p.m., and Quaid was pronounced dead at the scene.
"This is an example of the long-standing adage, 'Never turn your back on the ocean,'" said Giannini, who added that the couple and their dog were overtaken by a "sneaker wave."
Giannini cautioned that the sizable waves on the beach that day, which some nearby residents claimed rose to over 20 feet at high tide, were not entirely uncommon.
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“You don’t necessarily know what the size of a wave will be at any time," Giannini said. "We presume them all to be more or less the same, but there are times when large waves will come up on the shoreline and take people by surprise."
An eyewitness who claimed to have aided in the rescue efforts told CBS San Francisco that he saw Quaid and his wife get knocked down in the undertow. The man said that after falling down, Quaid’s wife, who was dressed in a thick winter coat, was unable to get up from the ground. The rescuer and another man were holding onto her, when Quaid went out into the water to try to retrieve the dog, before getting wiped out and swept into the ocean himself.
Quaid’s drowning marked the second such reported death in California in a week. On Dec. 28, Juan Escamillo-Rojas, 37, and his nine-year-old son, Juan Carlos, drowned in San Francisco Bay during a fishing trip. The New York Daily News said that both father and son were pronounced dead at the scene after being pulled to a nearby Coast Guard Station.