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Woman swept away by 'sneaker' wave in N. Calif.

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 28, 2013 at 8:07 pm •  Published: January 28, 2013
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EUREKA, Calif. (AP) — A Northern California woman drowned after she was swept out to sea by a large wave in the third such tragedy in the region this season, authorities said.

Humboldt County Coroner David Parris on Monday identified the victim as Susan Archer, 32, of Shelter Cove, about 90 miles south of Eureka.

Archer was walking on a rocky beach near her home with her boyfriend and dog Sunday when the wave pulled her into the ocean, Parris said. Her body was brought to shore after a roughly 45-minute search by boat and helicopter. Attempts to revive her with CPR didn't work, he said.

Archer's boyfriend was hurt when he was thrown against the shoreline rocks, but he was not swept up by the wave, officials said. Her dog was pulled into the water but was able to swim back to shore.

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

"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 region's third such mishap in the past few months.

On New Year's Day, a man and his wife were walking on the beach near Point Reyes when a wave overtook their dog. The couple went into the water to rescue the dog and the man was swept away. His wife and dog made it safely to shore.

In November, a couple drowned and their 16-year-old son disappeared while trying to save their dog at a beach near Arcata. The dog was chasing a thrown stick when it got pulled into the ocean by 8- to 10-foot waves.