An Oak Harbor woman was killed and her husband injured after a log rolled over them in the surf at Pacific Beach Sunday morning.
Lisa K. Harreld, 54, and her 54-year-old husband Jimmy Harreld “were walking on the beach close to Pacific Beach State Park” shortly before 10:30 a.m., said Grays Harbor County Undersheriff Brad Johansson. “A large set of waves came in and the couple stood on top of the log to avoid the waves.”
Another large wave moved in and knocked the couple off the log; the log then rolled over them. The husband suffered a serious leg injury, and the woman suffered “several areas of trauma,” said Johansson.
“Citizens came to the area to the aid of the couple and brought them up to dry land,” said Johansson. “The female stopped breathing and the citizens performed CPR. The aid crew responded and the (54-year-old female) was transported to the hospital via ambulance. On the way to the hospital, the female succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced dead.”
A witness who lives in the area told the Daily World she saw her “neighbors leaving their houses like a herd of elephants, and when they got back they were all sandy and sweaty.” She was told the couple may have been staying in one of the area vacation homes celebrating their anniversary; a Facebook post on Jimmy Harreld’s page Monday read, “With heavy hearts my wife Lisa K. Harreld passed away on our 5-year anniversary.”
“This is a tragic accident that occurred after an unforeseen act of nature,” said Johansson. “Our sympathy goes out to the friends and family of the deceased. I also appreciate the citizens who jumped into action and went to help the couple.”
The weekend brought very high tides, known as king tides, between 10 and 11 feet. Coupled with a strong storm front, high surf pounded the shorelines along the coast, with multiple warnings posted by media sources and local emergency management agencies to be aware of rogue, sneaker waves and high surf.
“Large tides and winter weather can create rogue waves. They are rare and unpredictable and can impact with tremendous force,” said Johansson. “We encourage people enjoying the beach to be aware of their surroundings and keep an eye on the water.”