Girl dies, search for grandfather suspended after wave sweeps pair into California's Half Moon Bay coast

The National Weather Service warned beachgoers of dangerous sneaker waves and rip currents over the weekend. The Coast Guard suspended its search for a 54-year-old man after nearly 24 hours of searching near Half Moon Bay.

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. A 5-year-old girl died, and her grandfather remains missing after a wave swept the pair into the Pacific Ocean over the weekend in Northern California.

Hazardous beach conditions began Friday and continued in Northern California through Sunday. Multiple other rescues were needed during rough surf near San Fransisco.


A 5-year-old girl and a 54-year-old man were swept off the beach by a wave near Martins Beach, according to officials with the U.S. Coast Guard Northern California. KTVU FOX 2 reported that the missing man is the girl's grandfather. 

The 5-year-old girl was pulled from the water by San Mateo County Fire personnel on Saturday and pronounced deceased at a nearby hospital, according to the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard continued to search for the man near Half Moon Bay for nearly 24 hours but suspended the search late Sunday night. 

"The decision to suspend search efforts is one of the hardest decisions to make, but our crews searched for nearly 24 hours without any sightings of the missing person," said Capt. Jordan Baldueza, deputy commander, Coast Guard Sector San Francisco. "Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends affected by this very tragic event."

According to a news release, the Coast Guard Sector San Francisco command center launched a search and rescue effort around 2 p.m. Saturday, including a boat and air crews. An additional vessel from Monterey arrived to help with the search on Sunday. 

KTVU FOX 2 reported that multiple rescue operations happened over the weekend, including two in San Francisco that involved a sailboat and a surfer. 

Central Fire District of Santa Cruz County officials said they responded to a 911 call to rescue two people near Pleasure Point.  

Fire rescue personnel told meteorologists with the Bay Area National Weather Service office that high tides were over 6 feet on Saturday. 

The NWS Bay Area issued a Coastal Flood Advisory for San Francisco Bay due to high astronomical tides through Monday afternoon. 

With dangerous conditions, the NWS warned beachgoers of sneaker waves and rip currents


With its steep and rocky coastline, Northern California is known for sneaker waves. According to NOAA, a sneaker wave is a rush of water that surges up the coast farther than expected. Some of these waves can surge more than 150 feet up the beach.

Hazardous conditions were expected from coastal Sonoma County down to Monterey County through Sunday.