Ted and Shinae Park were strolling along the beach on a Baja California beach in Mexico. The elderly couple, from Walnut Creek, CA, were vacationing and taking a final walk before heading back home. What they did not expect was a massive, rogue wave to suddenly sweep them out to sea. Shinae was injured and had respiratory problems. Ted Park was not as fortunate. His body was found by Mexican Navy patrol about 800 yards from where the wave hit the couple. It was a tragic end, not only to a vacation, but for a marriage for 72-year- old Ted and his wife, Shinae, age 66. I'm sure a massive wave sweeping them both offshore was the furthermost thing from their minds as the walked the beach in Mexico.
Here on the gulf coast, we are not noted for big waves that would attract surfers from around the world. However, when I was 8 years of age, I do recall a massive, rogue wave that killed a mother and her 6 year old daughter. That would have been 1959 if my math is correct. This was at nearby Dauphin Island. Back in the 50s and 60s, Dauphin Island was the big beach attraction on the gulf coast. Now, all you read about in the news is Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. But, back in the day, going to Dauphin Island was something I looked forward to with great anticipation. I remember the incident like it was yesterday. I told my mother I had to go to the bathroom. So, I went into the casino like building (swept away by Hurricane Camille back in 1969, I think) to use the bathroom. I came back outside and heard a sound like a freight train. It was a huge, massive wave hitting the beach. I guess it was about 30 feet wide and maybe as much as 20 feet high. It all happened like it was in slow motion. I saw the mother trying to shield her daughter to no avail. Umbrellas, coolers and bathers were knocked all over the beach. The mother and six year old daughter (approximately) had disappeared, never to be found to my knowledge. Mama did not let us go back to Dauphin Island for at least 3 years after that tragedy. Rogue waves like this are not common. But, can have devastating consequences when they strike.