Michel kindly summarized the case as:
3 people went on a forbidden footpath, 2 were washed away, one was recovered alive on the beach a few minutes later, the last one is still missing.Now he just informed me also this:
. . . another person seems to have been taken away from a bench on a nearby beach yesterday night, and two had already been drowned on a wharf last Sunday. Buoy measurements just off Brest gave 8m Hs, and it seems that the whole French Atlantic coast had such heights. Many shorelines got hurt, though the tide is not exceptional.
At Biarritz, where the accident took place, another wave smashed yesterday night the windows of the room of the one-armed bandits machines at the casino (built in 1929).So that are all happenings in a coastal location southwest of France. Are they freaque waves? Michel did not think so, though it's all unexpected. As usual we wish to extend our sympathy and prayer to the lost souls. Hope people don't ever try to brave the "forbidden footpath" again, no matter how healthy and strong they are!