Search ends for teenager swept to sea
SAN FRANCISCO — Howard Kuljian and his family were out for a walk on a damp, overcast morning at Big Lagoon beach, playing fetch with their dog as 10-foot surf churned the water just feet away like a washing machine.
Signs near the beach warned of “sneaker waves,” the kind that suddenly roar ashore.
Kuljian tossed a stick that took their dog down to the water's edge and in an instant, authorities said, a wave swallowed it, setting off a nightmarish scramble early Saturday in Arcata.
“Everything kind of snowballed from there,” Coast Guard Lt. Bernie Garrigan said.
Kuljian's son ran to save the dog and struggled as he was captured by the surging surf. Kuljian followed, and later his wife. On shore, his 18-year-old daughter and his son's girlfriend could only watch.
Both parents' bodies were recovered, but the 16-year-old boy — presumed dead — is still missing. Garrigan said the search for the teen was stopped because a person without a wetsuit could not survive for long in the surf because of the water temperature.
The dog, identified by the boy's friend as “Fran,” eventually made it back to shore.
The news of the tragedy — occurring during the long holiday weekend — shocked many in their small college town on the rough Northern California coastline, about 280 miles north of San Francisco.
Students at the high school where Kuljian's son, Gregory, went wore green in his memory.
By late Monday afternoon, more than 1,300 people “liked” a Facebook page set up by the teenager's friends called “Wear Green for Geddie” — using his nickname..
“I will always remember him no matter how long,” wrote Emmalaya Owen on the Facebook page. “Especially how he was such an upbeat happy person or how he tried to put up ‘Be Happy' propaganda posters he drew around school.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Christie rails against high N.J. estate tax
- Attorneys: Sterilizations were part of plea deal talks
- Pentagon shielded Chilean torture, slaying suspect
- Mysteries of dark matter come to light in Science study
- Republican presidential hopefuls near-unanimity on the issue of their own guns
- Run from Cuba, Americans cling to claims for seized property
- Global warming is slowing down the circulation of the oceans — with potentially dire consequences
- Gun used by agent who helped jail Capone headed to museum
- Sen. Reid follows same old script for Democrats as he endorses Schumer as successor
- American crash victims: U.S. government contractor, daughter
- Refunds hijacked in unique manner