Real-time Earth and Moon phase

Friday, January 11, 2008

Another tragedy at a coast

This is a depressing tragic case, and "it was a mystery that authorities could not solve Thursday" according to this SanLuisObispo.com article by Kathe Tanner.

Here's how it was started according to Tanner:

Lee and Madeline Kuo of Irvine were on a spur-of-the-moment vacation and had arrived in the area a bit early for a 10:20 a.m. tour at Hearst Castle.

He pulled into a vista point about a mile north of San Simeon so they could watch the high-tide waves and take photos of the birds.

Madeline Kuo said a couple of tourists from Germany asked for help in identifying something in the surf.

After Kuo looked through her binoculars and saw two bodies floating together in the ocean, she immediately called 911 on her cell phone.

It was the bodies of "a woman and young girl died along the rugged shoreline north of San Simeon." And "Coroner’s investigators with the Sheriff’s Department are trying to find out how the pair ended up in the water." Only speculations so far:

Firefighters at the scene said the woman and girl might have been swept off rocks on the shore by a rogue or “sleeper” wave— a large wave that breaks without warning.

A couple of rescuers said the woman might have gone into the water to rescue the girl.

While the local conditions are:

County/Cal Fire Capt. Phill Veneris said the shoreline in that area is treacherous and tricky.

“There’s a lot of swell, a lot of big waves, a lot of rocks and riptides,” he said.

The ocean floor drops suddenly and steeply there from being about 6 inches deep to 4 or 5 feet deep, he said.

“Once you get into the water, it’s hard to get back out,” Veneris added.

The high tide at 10:15 a.m. was 5.8 feet, considered high for the area.

And

Emily Torlano, an off-duty Cambria firefighter and paramedic, was walking at San Simeon Cove about 2 miles north shortly before the call came in.

She said the sea was “perfectly flat, except for some giant waves coming out of nowhere” occasionally.

Torlano said those waves were so tall that they rose about three-quarters of the way up the San Simeon Pier’s pilings.

Cambria fire Capt. Steve Bitto said the wave faces at the time were “easily 8 to 10 feet” high, with “lots and lots of water moving real fast.”

Now here's a picture of the San Simeon coast I found from the flickr.com site by thewolf05.
So whatever conclusion of the cause of the tragedy the authority eventually determines, it is a depressing tragic that has been recurring at a lot of places over a lot of times. The words of Emily Torlano, the Cambria firefighter and paramedic, that "the sea was perfectly flat, except for some giant waves coming out of nowhere occasionally" echoes all over at all times. That's something oceanic scientists have not yet able to get a grip in spite of all the technology and computational advancements. The CW -- conventional wisdom -- could not handle anything coming out of nowhere occasionally so they just simply and totally ignored them all. No funding, and therefore no research, will likely to trickle down to help preventing these tragic happenings. Que sera sera!

1 comment:

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