A 59-year-old Richmond man who was swept out to sea while walking his dog on a Point Reyes beach was found dead in the water Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.
The U.S. Coast Guard and Marin County Fire Department received reports of two people in distress on the 10-Mile Beach section of the Point Reyes National Seashore at 12:30 p.m., according to Battalion Chief Mike Giannini of Marin County Fire.
A man and woman were walking with their dog on the beach when a wave swept all three into the water, Coast Guard Officer Mark Leahey said. The waves at the time were 10 to 12 feet high, which National Park Service ranger John Golda said is not unusual for that stretch of beach, and there was no high surf advisory.
On Wednesday afternoon, the man was identified as Charles Francis Quaid of Richmond.
Golda said a large wave knocked the woman and dog to the ground and Quaid went to help them. Witnesses said Quaid was knocked down by a series of waves and swept out to sea, Golda said.
Giannini said bystanders had helped the woman out of the water, and she deemed unhurt after a paramedic evaluation. She was later identified as Quaid's wife.
Quaid was seen drifting in the surf for about 15 minutes until he could no longer be seen, Giannini said. Using several boats and a helicopter, the Coast Guard and the National Park rangers searched the area until the man was found at about 4 p.m. However, it appeared that Quaid was dead when he was found, Leahey said. The body was retrieved by personnel on a 47-foot Coast Guard vessel and transported to the Bodega Bay Coast Guard station.
The Sonoma County Coroner's Office has taken responsibility of the case.
Inverness Fire, Southern Marin Fire and the California Highway Patrol also assisted in the efforts.
The Point Reyes National Seashore's website warns visitors of "sneaker waves" that can occur at any time and drag beachgoers out to sea.
— Bay City News Service contributed to this report. Copyright © 2012 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.