A young boy who had been playing in the surf with his father is dead after being knocked down by a large wave and swept out to sea in Carmel. The incident occurred Tuesday at around 12:40 p.m. on Monastery Beach, and as KSBW reports, rescuers were able to retrieve him by boat after about 20 minutes, however after performing CPR they were unable to revive him.
Monastery Beach has been nicknamed "Mortuary Beach" by locals because of the frequency of drownings that have occurred there over the years. The reason, as State Parks Monterey District superintendent Jim Bilz tells KSBW, is the steep contour of the beach. "It's probably 30 feet that it very sharply goes down at an angle," Bilz says. "The contour is created by the deep shelf off the coast here."
Witnesses prevented the father from swimming out to save his son, thinking that he could drown too and did not appear to be a strong enough swimmer, according to CalFire captain John Spooner. "He had been playing with his father near where the waves break on the shore and it sounded like, from the description bystanders gave us, that a sneaker wave came in and hit him, separated the two of them and then another large wave came in and swept the boy out into the water," Spooner tells the Monterey Herald.
Waves at the time were breaking at between 8 and 12 feet.
Spooner further explained, "The waves come in basically perpendicular to the beach... and as they come in it forces the rip current to form right in the middle of the bay and it pushes back out to sea."
Reportedly, one third of all aquatic deaths in Monterey County have occurred at Monastery Beach, 18 in just the last 20 years, including the death of 57-year-old tourist Linda June, who was dragged out to sea by a wave after walking along the beach in February 2015.