Man Swept to Sea in California, Was Trying to Save His Dog

Charles Francis Quaid of Richmond, California lost his life on New Year's day

By on January 3rd, 2013 08:54 GMT

Richmond resident Charles Francis Quaid lost his life on New Year's day, as waves swept him off to sea in California.

59-year-old Quaid's death was reported to have happened on the beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore. At 12:30 p.m. January 1, witnesses on the 10-Mile Beach noticed his wife walking his dog, and him trying to help them as they were struck by waves.

As the water hit Quaid’s wife and pet, he jumped in to save them, facing the 10 to 12 feet waves. Although no high surf advisory was up, experts report the waves were not unusually strong. Even so, the woman was knocked down, and Quaid stepped in to help.

At first, authorities struggled with identifying him. He intervened to save the dog, as his wife was soaked and remained by the shore. She was dressed in a heavy winter coat, beachgoers described.

Quaid was not as lucky and was quickly carried to sea. His body was located a few hours after the incident, at 4 p.m. He was pronounced dead on the spot.

According to National Park Service ranger John Golda, his wife and dog were rescued by bystanders, yet he could not be saved.

Someone called the Marin County Fire Department at 12:30 p.m., Battalion Chief Mike Giannini tells CBS San Francisco. In 20 minutes, a team of firefighters and a Coast Guard helicopter were dispatched to the scene.

They were joined by a multi-agency first responder team who arrived on two jet skis, and brought in life boats. The Southern Marin Fire Protection District, the Inverness Fire Department and the California Highway Patrol were represented at the scene.

The Point Reyes National Seashore’s website tells tourists to be weary of “sneaker waves,” which hit forcefully enough to drag them up to sea.

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