Rough surf claimed the life of a Susan Kay Archer, age 32, of Shelter Cove on Sunday morning.
Shelter Cove Volunteer Fire Department personnel along with the U.S. Coast Guard responded to the call at 10:30 a.m.
Archer was walking the beach with her boyfriend and dog as they did almost every morning. At the foot of Dolphin Dr., which runs towards the ocean, there are rocks that go right down to the water.
They waited for the waves to go out. Archer went around a large rock followed by her male companion. A wave came in knocking them both over. Humboldt County Coroner David Parris believes that this was not a sneaker wave but “a typical wave action that caught them off guard.”
Archer and the dog were swept into the water while the man was slapped against the rock. According to Parris, he sustained “lots of lacerations” on his stomach and arms. The man managed to pull himself up the rock and called 911. Even though local rescue crews and the Coast Guard believed at times that they might have to arrange a rescue from the rock, the man struggled to the top of the cliff where he met with rescuers.
A Shelter Cove Volunteer Fire Department boat immediately began the search as did a Coast Guard vessel.
Archer’s body was found floating about 300 feet offshore after about a 45-minute search. The dog eventually made it to shore and ran back to his home.
”We had a rescue boat out there and they were going back-and-forth,” said Shelter Cove Volunteer Fire Department Duty Officer Cheryl Antony. “Then, the Coast Guard flew over and pinpointed area where she was. Our boat was able to recover the body.
”The Coast Guard was an incredible help.”
Antony noted waters off the beach the pair were walking the dog was very active.
”The ocean today was extremely hazardous,” she said. “The waves were about 10 to 15 feet. It was very, very hazardous for them to be out there. There are a lot of rocks on the shore and they had to be careful they didn’t get swept into those rocks.”
Antony couldn’t say enough about the Coast Guard assist.
”The Coast Guard came down here (Saturday) to practice with us,” Antony said. “We got to meet all of them not knowing we were going to need them one day later.”