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Girl Injured by Log in Florence Surf, Oregon / Washington Coast Beach Hazards Continue

Published 12/30/23 at 5:35 p.m.
B
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Girl Injured by Log in Florence Surf, Oregon / Washington Coast Beach Hazards Continue

(Florence, Oregon) – As the Oregon coast and south Washington coast head through the tail end of an extended series of beach hazard warnings, a five-year-old girl is injured on a beach in Florence after getting hit by a sneaker wave and briefly pinned under a log. (Photo Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

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The National Weather Service (NWS) has been urging extreme caution in the region due to waves as high as 25 feet, with beach hazard statements extended through today (Saturday). While this expires late today, waves were still presenting dangerous conditions on beaches, even with wave height only at 14 feet or so, happening from Reedsport through the Washington coast.

Eugene's KEZI TV is reporting Western Lane Fire and EMS (WLFE) responded Thursday to South Jetty Beach near Florence with the report of a young girl injured in the surf.

The 5-year-old was abruptly caught by a sneaker wave, which propelled a large log onto her, pinning her face down in the surf. Bystanders and the girl's mother managed to pull the log off her, and EMT's arrived to find her recovering at a safe distance from the surf.

The video below shows Oceanside in a similar state and what to look for.

She was not seriously injured, the TV station is reporting, but WLFE had her flown to PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center RiverBend in Springfield.

The agency told KEZI it had responded to around 300 such calls on the beach last year.

This is exactly the message Oregon coast officials and the NWS are trying to get out: stay out of the surf and beaches when wave height reaches to these levels.

Florence and most beaches in the region have plenty of warning signage.

Thursday was when wave height and sneaker waves were at some of their worst along the Washington coast and Oregon coast. Numerous videos have already surfaced on social media from this week with various hair-raising moments, including this footage.

The NWS said sneaker waves are still a sizable danger tonight.

“Waves can run up significantly farther on a beach than normal, including over rocks and jetties,” the NWS said. “Sneaker waves can suddenly knock people off of their feet and quickly pull them into the frigid ocean which may lead to serious injury or drowning.”

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The NWS said wave height has been around 10 to 12 feet in most areas of the northern coast and south Washington coast today, while the southern Oregon coast has been relatively calmer. The problem comes with the 14 seconds period between waves, which is what creates sneaker waves.

See Washington Coast Weather - Oregon Coast Weather

Waves simmer down this weekend for the northern regions, but the southern Oregon coast waters are expected to ramp up again early this week.

“Another front moves into the region Tuesday, bringing increasing south winds and building, steep to very steep seas,” the NWS office in Medford said. “Another fresh west swell will follow behind the front, and elevated seas will continue into mid-week.”

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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