“This has been a rough period here,” said National Park Service Director of Communications Howard Levitt. “There were three tragic losses of life.”
In the span of just a few days, a father and son drowned and another man was swept out to sea while trying to save his wife and dog.
A San Francisco man and his 9-year-old son drowned Friday, Dec. 28. in the frigid bay near Bonita Cove when a large wave swept the boy into the water while they were fishing and the father drowned while trying to save his son, said a Marin County Sheriff’s Office official.
Juan Escamillo-Rojas, 37, and his son Juan Carlos Escamillo-Monroy, 9, were pronounced dead at around 5:30 p.m. Friday at the U.S. Coast Guard’s Golden Gate station in Sausalito after being pulled out of the bay, Sheriff’s Lt. Keith Boyd said.
The following Tuesday, a 59-year-old Richmond man who was swept out to sea while walking his dog on a Point Reyes beach was found dead in the water.
The U.S. Coast Guard and Marin County Fire Department received reports of two people in distress on the 10-Mile Beach section of the Point Reyes National Seashore at 12:30 p.m., according to Battalion Chief Mike Giannini of Marin County Fire.
A man and woman were walking with their dog on the beach when a wave swept all three into the water, Coast Guard Officer Mark Leahey said. The waves at the time were 10 to 12 feet high, which National Park Service ranger John Golda said is not unusual for that stretch of beach, and there was no high surf advisory.
On Wednesday afternoon, the man was identified as Charles Francis Quaid of Richmond.
Golda said a large wave knocked the woman and dog to the ground and Quaid went to help them. Witnesses said Quaid was knocked down by a series of waves and swept out to sea, Golda said.
“The winter conditions can be really hazardous,” Levitt said. “People have to be aware that there are extra large waves that can hit the beach.”
Levitt said local beaches are not intended for swimming and that safeguards anr not in abundance. Along with the waves, the bitter cold water poses a second threat.
“Even a good swimmer can be incapacitated in cold water,” he said.
Levitt said it’s vital to keep children and pets close at hand at all times. Being cautious can prevent the types of tragedies that struck last week.
“The winter surf has to be respected,” he said.