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Idaho woman, son drown scattering ashes on coast

A Sagle, Idaho, woman and one of her grown sons drowned when they were swept out to sea by a rogue wave while visiting the Oregon Coast this week to scatter the ashes of her husband.

Pamela Flynn, 72, went to Agate Beach, near Port Orford, Ore., to honor one of the last wishes of David Flynn, who died in August at the age of 75.

Her sons, Thomas Flynn, 44, and Brian Flynn, 42, were with her shortly after 2 p.m. Thursday when the “sneaker” wave struck the shore and washed them off the beach, according to the Curry County Sheriff’s Office.

Rescue crews responded to a 911 call and pulled Pamela and Brian Flynn from the surf. Pamela Flynn had drowned, but Brian Flynn survived and was treated for hypothermia, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

A fisherman with the fishing vessel Tiburan spotted the body of Thomas Flynn floating a half mile from shore. A Coast Guard helicopter dropped a rescue swimmer into the Pacific Ocean to recover the body, the sheriff reported.

Sneaker waves are unusually large waves that occasionally catch tourists unawares along the beaches of the Oregon Coast.

“It’s extremely difficult to get out of,” said Sheriff’s Deputy Kim Wood.

“Sneaker waves are pretty much a problem anywhere on the coast,” said Matt Eckert, who operates a tackle shop in Port Orford. “That beach in particular, it really drops off when you get in the water.”

Port Orford Harbor Master Gary Anderson said he heard that the family members were on a rock near the shore dumping ashes into the ocean when the wave hit, but the third-hand account could not be confirmed Friday.

Pamela Flynn paid a visit to a Sandpoint funeral home recently to transfer some of her husband’s ashes into a temporary container she planned to carry to Oregon.

“She was just in here last week,” said Doug Darling, Lakeview Funeral Home director. “She was going to scatter his ashes along the beach there.”


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