Man Drowns Trying to Save Wife, Dog in Rough California Surf

PHOTO: A couple walk along the North Beach as a helicopter searches for a man lost in the high surf, Jan. 1, 2013, at the Point Reyes National Seashore, Calif.
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A California man who went into rough ocean waves to try and rescue his wife and dog drowned when he was pulled more than a half-mile off shore on New Year's day.

The man, who was identified by the Richmond Mercury News as 59-year-old Charles Quaid, went into the water at Point Reyes National Seashore to try and help his wife and dog, according to officials.

Quaid's wife was caught in the wake of 10 to 12 foot waves that were crashing on the beach, which is particularly exposed to swell, Capt. Chris Martinelli of the Marin County Fire Department said today.

Temperatures in the water are in the low 50s right now, he said.

Bystanders on the beach helped pull Quaid's wife to shore, while the dog made it back onto the beach as well, Martinelli said. They were not able to assist Quaid, and called for emergency help around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Helicopters and boat rescue teams from the fire department, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the National Park Service scoured the water off the coast for Quaid.

Quaid's body was spotted around 4 p.m., and located by rescuers on jet skis who were part of the rescue operation. A paramedic on board the jet ski declared Quaid dead during the recovery, Martinelli said.

Quaid's wife and dog were not injured. The Coast Guard would not comment on the identity of those involved in the incident, and Martinelli referred the matter to the Fire Department spokesman, who did not return a call from ABC News.

"That beach is notorious," Martinelli said. "There are signs posted pretty well in that area warning of danger. This beach in particular is very exposed to the swell, and this time of year there are very large swells. If you aren't watching the water they can come up out of nowhere."

The rough surf off the northern California coast claimed three other lives in November 2012 when a family was swept out to sea after the family dog was caught in a wave near Big Lagoon.

A teenager and his mother and father all drowned in the Nov. 26 incident, in which a "sneaker wave," which was larger than previous sets of wave, came up onto shore forcefully. An older daughter and the family dog survived the incident.

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