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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

2 women die in rough surf while digging for clams on Washington state coast

By Rolf Boone Olympian

Two women died Friday on the Washington state coast after rough surf swept them off the beach while they dug for clams, according to the Pacific County Sheriff’s Office.

The bodies of both women were found Saturday.

About 9 p.m. Friday, a 70-year-old woman was reported missing after she got lost in the surf while digging clams north of Ocean Park on the Long Beach peninsula. Minutes later, a 61-year-old Toledo woman was reported missing in the surf near Warrenton Cannery Road, which is between Grayland and Tokeland.

The 61-year-old was found about 5:40 a.m. Saturday between the Cranberry and Midway beach approaches in Pacific County, according to the sheriff’s office, while the 70-year-old was found about 5 p.m. near Westport.

Although several agencies responded to the emergency, the search was hampered by bad weather. The sheriff’s office added that a Coast Guard helicopter was “involved in a bird strike” and was unable to get to the scene, but did dispatch a ground search crew.

“These incidents serve as a tragic reminder that one must always be vigilant of the powerful surf and waves that are often present on our ocean beaches.,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement on Facebook. “Always stay close to other clammers, bring a flashlight or lantern, a waterproof cell phone, and never turn your back on the surf as ”sneaker waves“ can appear at any time.”