Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tragedy at Shore Acres

What a wonderful time we had and once again I'm ready for a full-time road trip. I have weeks worth of pictures to share, but wanted to post these while they were still timely. We have been going to the Oregon Coast and to Shore Acres for some 30 years. The weather this weekend was perfect, sunny and (relatively) warm, but with the highest seas we have witnessed there. And this is in an area known for spectacular surf. This is the little beach (Simpson Beach) that's below the botanical gardens at Shore Acres State Park. I took these pictures at around noon yesterday (Saturday 10/25/08). They are taken from the beach trail, fairly high on the bluff above. We have actually walked down to this beach in the past. But even on a day with lesser seas, it was frightening. The surf seems to tower over you as it builds before rushing toward you through the narrow mouth of the inlet.
Tom has even better pictures, which I will nab later. But you can get an idea of the size of the waves and of how far up on the beach they come with each surge.
From the Eugene Register Guard:
Large wave sweeps man, boy into ocean
"CHARLESTON — A man and boy playing on the beach at Shore Acres State Park were swept into the ocean by enormous waves Saturday afternoon. Rescuers pulled the boy from the water and were still looking for the man at nightfall.
“They were swept into the ocean by a wave,” said Vee Elliott, a volunteer coordinator at the Shore Acres gift shop. “We had huge waves on the ocean today.”
A passer-by notified the gift shop, where a volunteer called 911, Elliott said. A crew from the Charleston Fire Department found the boy in the water and pulled him to the beach after the 3:40 p.m. call, officials said. A Coast Guard helicopter airlifted the boy to an ambulance. His condition was not known, but the Coast Guard called him “unresponsive.”
Elliott said it was a warm day at Simpson Beach, just south of Charleston on the Southern Oregon coast.
“I would say the waves were 10 feet or better,” she said.
A Coast Guard spokesman said the man remained missing and the search, aided by a 47-foot motor lifeboat and an HH-65 rescue helicopter, continued after dark."
Above is the Coast Guard helicopter circling and searching, picture made shortly after 5 p.m. At that point there would have been no hope for finding the man alive due to the temperature of the water. The search was continuing this morning, still in progress when we left about 10:30 a.m. Those things that are the most beautiful are often also the most deadly.