HALF MOON BAY, Calif. – Officials have confirmed the death of a 5-year-old girl who was rescued from the coast of Half Moon Bay. The tragic incident occurred when a wave washed a 54-year-old man and the young girl off Martins Beach into the ocean on Saturday afternoon. The man, who is the girl’s grandfather, and the child were related, as confirmed by the Coast Guard. Search and rescue efforts were launched promptly, but unfortunately, the 5-year-old girl was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
The search for the missing 54-year-old man spanned approximately 22 hours and covered over 100 square miles, before eventually being suspended. The Coast Guard received reports of the incident at around 1:20 p.m. on Saturday, and search teams were deployed soon after. Despite extensive efforts, there were no sightings of the missing person, leading to the difficult decision to suspend the search.
Captain Jordan Baldueza, deputy commander of Coast Guard Sector San Francisco, expressed the challenging nature of the decision to end the search: “The decision to suspend search efforts is one of the hardest decisions to make, but our crews searched for nearly 24 hours without any sightings of the missing person. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends affected by this very tragic event.”
The identities of the deceased girl and the missing man have not yet been released to the public. This incident is a stark reminder of the potential dangers present along the Northern California coastline.
The National Weather Service has issued a beach hazard warning, cautioning that despite the ocean appearing calm, unexpected “sneaker waves” can rapidly emerge and pose a serious risk, dragging people and pets out to sea. To ensure their safety, beach-goers are advised to stay out of the water and avoid jetties and rocks. Authorities stress the importance of never turning one’s back to the ocean.
In addition to the heightened beach hazard warning, a flood advisory was also in effect due to high tides.
This incident took place against the backdrop of multiple rescue operations that unfolded on Saturday in San Francisco, involving a sailboat and a surfer. As the investigation continues, authorities aim to gather more details about the circumstances surrounding the tragedy.