EUREKA (CBS) – The search has been was called off for a teenager whose parents were killed after they plunged into the cold, powerful surf in Northern California in an attempt to save the family dog.
The Humboldt County deputy coroner says Mary Scott and Howard Kuljian of Eureka both drowned Saturday. Their 16-year-old son, Gregory Kuljian, is presumed dead.
Coast Guard Lt. Bernie Garrigan said the search was stopped because a person without a wetsuit could not survive for long in the frigid water.
The family was at Big Lagoon, a beach north of Eureka, Saturday afternoon when the dog chased after a thrown stick and got pulled into the ocean by eight to ten foot waves, said Dana Jones, a state Parks and Recreation district superintendent.
Jones said the boy went after the dog, prompting his father to go after them. She said the teenager was able to get out, but when he didn’t see his father, he and his mother went into the water looking for him.
“Both were dragged into the ocean,” Jones said.
The Times-Standard reports the couple’s daughter called police.
Jones said a park ranger had to run a half mile to get to the beach because his car wasn’t made to handle the terrain. When he arrived, he wasn’t able to get to them because of the high surf, she said.
Rescuers eventually retrieved the mother’s body and the father’s body washed up.
The dog got out of the water on its own, Jones said.