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Couple swept to sea near Eureka after trying to save dog

Family members trying to rescue their dog from powerful surf in Northern California were swept out to sea, leaving a couple dead and their 16-year-old son missing, authorities said.

Waves reaching 10 feet in height pulled the dog into the ocean as it ran to retrieve a stick at Big Lagoon, a beach north of Eureka on Saturday, according to Dana Jones, a state Parks and Recreation district superintendent, in the Times-Standard.

Jones said the boy went after the dog, prompting his father to go after them. She said the teenager was able to get out, but when he didn't see his father, he and his mother went into the water looking for him.

“Both were dragged into the ocean,” Jones said of Saturday's tragedy.

The Times-Standard reports that the couple's daughter called police. Jones said a park ranger had to run a half mile to get to the beach because his car wasn't made to handle the terrain. When he arrived, he wasn't able to get to them because of the high surf, she said.

Rescuers eventually retrieved the mother's body, and the father's body washed up. The dog got out of the water on its own, Jones said. The Coast Guard deployed a helicopter and two motor life boats to search for the teenager, but the aerial search was suspended by thick coastal fog.

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Small plane makes emergency landing on Cal State Northridge field

-- From a Times staff writer

 
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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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