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Family swept into sea, trying to save dog, identified by coroner

November 26, 2012 |  2:41 pm

Officials on Monday identified the three members of a family swept out to sea as they attempted to rescue their dog from the powerful surf.

The Humboldt County coroner said Howard Kuljian, 50, and his wife, Mary Scott, 54, of Eureka, Calif., drowned Saturday after rushing into the water at Big Lagoon, a beach north of Eureka. 

Officials say the family dog had run into the ocean to retrieve a stick when it was pulled in by waves. The couple's 16-year-old son, Gregory Kuljian, ran into the water after the dog, prompting his father to enter the water as well.

The teenager was able to return to shore, but when his father did not surface, Gregory reentered the water with his mother to search for him.

The couple's daughter called police, said Dana Jones, a state Parks and Recreation district superintendent, according to the Times-Standard.

Jones said a park ranger had to run half a mile to get to the beach because his vehicle could not handle the terrain. When he arrived, he wasn't able to get to the family because of the high surf, she said.

Rescuers eventually retrieved the mother's body, and the father's body washed up. Gregory's body has not been found.
The dog got out of the water on its own, Jones said.