Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Giant waves crush over

This is not freaque wave as we think, still some experience! Even though I think they expected that, it's not clear that they knew exactly what was going to happen:

Whatever, it can't possibly be a pleasant experience especially when those muddy water crush on you. Give a thumb up to the poor reporter.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Happened in Caribbean waters

This case, with one unfortunate casualty, happened a few days ago in Caribbean waters, just reported in this Westport News:
A former Westport resident died Tuesday when he was swept off a boat owned by supermarket magnate Stew Leonard Sr. into rough Caribbean waters off the Virgin Islands.

Robert Speranza, 73, the owner of the Ocean Club in St. Maarten, according to the St. Maarten-based Daily Herald website, was one of four people aboard Leonard's 70-foot powerboat, "Stew's Special," when it was hit by large waves traveling from the island to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Leonard Sr., his son Tom and the powerboat captain, Martijn Haasdit, were also on the vessel when it was struck by what Leonard described as a "rogue wave."

Recounting the accident in a statement issued Friday to the Westport News, Leonard Sr. said, "As we got further out to sea, the waves turned from 2- to 3-foot to 5 to 6. As we were approaching Virgin Gorda, about one mile offshore, a rogue wave about 12 to 15 feet high suddenly came out of nowhere and hit the bow of the boat.

"I was behind the 10-foot-wide bulletproof windshield, which took the full force of the impact of the avalanche of water, and put my two arms up to protect my face," he said in the statement. "But both Bob (Speranza) and my son Tom were swept down to the back of the boat. Tom was able to grab onto a railing, but the torrent of water swept Bob overboard and he was left drifting unconscious in the water."

Haasdit, the captain, dove in and was able to bring Speranza back the to boat, Leonard Sr. said, "and we immediately began CPR, which continued for the next 30 minutes until we reached the dock in Tortola" in the British Virgin Islands.

According to the Daily Herald website, the efforts to revive Speranza -- who suffered a gash on his head -- were unsuccessful on board the boat. Tom Leonard was also injured, but not as seriously.

An ambulance was waiting at the dock, Leonard Sr. said, and Speranza was transported to Peebles Hospital, where he later was pronounced dead.

"The hospital did everything they could. They were excellent," Leonard Sr., who has a home on St. Martin as Westport, told the Daily Herald.

Speranza, he added, had lived in Westport for several years and "had been my friend for 40 years, and his death is so unexpected and very saddening. Our family's thoughts and prayers are with his wife Barbara and the entire Speranza family."
This report consists detailed account on what had happened that includes even the sizes of the waves encountered given by the owner of the boat. This is, without a doubt, a real case of freaque wave encounter. Besides that being sudden and totally unexpected "came out of nowhere", the owner of the boat proficiently estimated that they were sailing in 5-6 ft waves and being hit by one 12-15 ft. That's exactly meeting the conventional ad hoc, or operational definition of a freaque wave! Sadly the tragedy happened when "the torrent of water swept Bob overboard and he was left drifting unconscious in the water" and Bob was never being revived. May God bless him to rest in peace! It is demonstrated once again that a freaque wave can happen anywhere, anytime -- and a tragedy is lurking not far behind!

A separate news item in WestportNow by James Lomuscio has this picture of the powerboat 70 ft Stew's Special:

Clearly this is a local case happened to a well-known, well-to-do local family and only local newspapers were interested in reporting. Nevertheless it is a clearly full-fledged freaque wave case that should always being reported. I can't help wondering though if it might not be reported if the people involved were not famous local personalities?! How many cases could have happened out there but never get reported?

Friday, August 12, 2011

A great Oregon/Washington coast rescue story

Here is a heart warming story that once you start reading it you just can't stop (at least that's what happened to me). It's from myCentralOregon.com :
As Charles Ostrander flailed in the turbulent waves of the Pacific, it was another 12-year-old who put her life on the line to save him - the first in a series of responders who eventually pulled Ostrander back from the brink of death.

Nicole Kissel's daring actions provided rescue crews with what turned out to be a crucial extension of time. Ostrander, who goes by his nickname Dale, ended up spending several minutes lost in the water, was found lifeless in the surf but has since been revived in a remarkable recovery that defied even the expectations of his parents.

On Wednesday, he was out of the ICU and starting to talk with his family.

After hearing Dale's call for help Friday, Nicole immediately turned her boogie board toward deeper waters despite the objections of her father, who shouted over the crashing waves about the dangerous conditions. Nicole managed to reach Dale, who was struggling to stay afloat, and helped him onto the three-foot board. Together, the two youths struggled against the rip current that had turned an average day at a popular beach into chaos.

"When we were on that board, I kind of shouted out to myself: `We're going to die. I can't die like this,'" Nicole recalled.

Dale, meanwhile, had offered words of assurance: "Keep paddling. We're almost there."

If only.

A rogue wave slammed into the pair, knocking them off the board. Nicole managed to get back up, but Dale disappeared back into the surf.

By the time rescuers had reached the beach, fellow members of the church group Dale had been traveling with were huddled in tears and prayer while some stood on trucks trying to get a vantage point to spot him.

Eddie Mendez, a volunteer water rescuer, was working his day job at a construction site when the emergency call came in. The 34-year-old immediately drove over to the beach and changed into a wet suit while his colleague launched two jet skis.

Mendez said he saw a shadow moving under the breaking water offshore, so he and a diver rushed over. They scanned the area for a few minutes before Mendez spotted the shadow again. They found the boy floating about two feet below the surface of the water.

"He was white-pale and face down," Mendez said.

As they pulled the boy on board, Mendez realized he was rescuing a child - about the age of his own daughter.

"I thought, `Wow, this is like my own child,'" Mendez said.

Mendez drove the boy to the beach, where emergency responders began trying to revive him. There was no sign of life but they kept performing CPR as they transported him. Finally, after Dale reached a nearby hospital, his pulse returned.

Then Dale was flown from the southwest Washington coast to OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland, Ore. His parents were still steeling themselves for the worst.

"I expected to say our goodbyes and so did my wife, and we were just prepared for that," said Chad Ostrander, who was at the family's home in Spanaway, Wash., when it happened. But on Sunday night, as he was eased off sedatives, Dale opened his eyes.

"At that moment, that was the first glimmer of any hope," his father said. "It didn't mean he was going to make it. It just meant that there was hope."

It's unclear whether he'll fully recover, but his parents have hope.

"There's been several miracles just in the circumstances of finding him, the fact that he's not dead, the fact that he can move, the fact that he can speak," Chad Ostrander said. "Unbelievable."

Generally, the chances of surviving a near-drowning increase when a person is young, the water is cold and the time spent underwater is short. Dr. Mark Morocco, an emergency room doctor at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, said medical literature cites at least one case in which a person survived after being submerged for about an hour.

Morocco said the fact that Dale was wearing long sleeves probably helped him.

It is not clear how long the boy was actually underwater. Mendez said about 15 minutes elapsed between the time rescuers were dispatched and the time Dale was pulled from the ocean.

Morocco, who was not involved in Dale's care, said swift treatment was key. He credited rescuers for continuing resuscitation efforts even though the boy lacked a pulse and reflexes.

"When this kid came out of the surf, he looked dead," he said. "But you have to ignore the fact that he looks dead" and give CPR.

Dale starting talking on Monday. When his parents encouraged him to cough to clear his throat, he replied, "I don't have to."

Doctors have cautioned his parents that even if Dale survives, he could have permanent brain damage.

The physicians "were very clear that he had been under for too long, had been without oxygen for too long," Kirsten Ostrander said. "We trust (God) no matter what."

Dale will need speech and physical therapy, and can't get out of his hospital bed yet, his father said.

"Things are going along better than anyone expected so at this point we're very happy," he said.

"Honestly, all of the doctors' prospects are very negative. They're very honest and blunt. But they said every once in a while there's a miracle, and we don't want to give up on that," Ostrander said.

Dale has uttered a few more words. Ostrander said that when he told him he couldn't get out of bed, "He reared up and said, `Yes, I can.'"

Two more words came Wednesday, when Nicole Kissel visited him.

She said he seemed to have trouble focusing his eyes for most of the 15-minute reunion. But as she left, he made eye contact for the first time and said, "Thank you."

Barnard reported from Grants Pass, Ore. Associated Press writers Jonathan J. Cooper in Portland, Ore., and Alicia Chang in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
Whoever penned this final version has done a good job of story telling. I have to quote the whole thing. The story encompassed two major substantive most dangerous phenomena in the nearshore region: the rip current and freaque wave. it could be deadly if one encounters one of them. But with God's grace, Dale really survived thanks in particular to Nicole's early help. The story certainly enhances our enthusiasm for life. Oh, please don't fault Nicole's father for advising her not to go for the rescue at first. I would do the same thing to my daughter if I were there. I guess Nicole probably did not hear her dad when she embarked on the rescue. At any rate, God's hand is right there doing His work. As a result both Nicole and Dale are going to have a brilliant future ahead of them. God's will be done!

Monday, August 01, 2011

Life jackets saved her family

A nice family visit, a nice pontoon boat outing, a thrilling visit of the dolphin pond, then on the home stretch, "out of nowhere, a rogue wave hit the bow . . . "

Here's the nice sea story by Teresa Denny of 53rd Wing I found on the U. S. Air Force Web Site:
8/1/2011 - EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) -- My brother and his family visited us here in the beautiful Florida Panhandle last summer. I looked forward to showing them all the exciting things to see and do.

I was also eager to take them on a boat trip. I spoke extensively about the area wildlife and the beautiful waters. My niece was especially thrilled at the possibility of seeing dolphins. I rented a pontoon boat from outdoor recreation and waited impatiently for their arrival.

The time finally came, and we embarked on an awesome day on the water. As we got closer to our destination, a pod of dolphins came into view. My niece was mesmerized. They gave us a thrilling show to remember. I was so happy it was all going so well.

We spent a good four to five hours cruising around before deciding to go home. By then, it was hot, and the kids wanted to take off their life jackets because of the heat, but I told them Florida law required them to keep them on while in the boat. However, none of us adults were wearing them.

On the way home, the water became choppy. Out of nowhere, a rogue wave hit the bow, and the front of the boat was instantly submerged. My brother's wife and two kids were thrown overboard. The rest of us went flying down the length of the boat. It was total chaos.

The boat finally straightened out, and we were able to stand. My brother and husband jumped into the water and pulled the three back into the boat. They were scared, coughing up water and battered. The adults on the boat were pretty bruised up as well and bewildered at how something like this could happen so quickly.

I hate to imagine what would've happened if those kids hadn't been wearing life jackets. I know now that the adults should have also been wearing them too.

This is a lesson I'll never forget. No matter how confident you are in your environment, never let your guard down, and never think that you can do without a life saving device that is readily available to you.

I thank God we all came out of it safe, but I'm not sure my brother and his family will want to go out on a boat again anytime soon.

All's well that ends well. Life jackets saved the day and her family. The author provides a great lesson that everyone should keep in mind all the time:
No matter how confident you are in your environment, never let your guard down, and never think that you can do without a life saving device that is readily available to you. It can not be over emphasized!

The sentence
"out of nowhere, a rogue wave hit the bow . . . " is almost like a cliché now, but it is not. It is in fact a true experience of real life encounter with freaque waves that many had shared but no one would relish. Teresa concluded her article with "I thank God we all came out of it safe" which I can only say "Amen!"