HSU Offers Counseling After One Student Swept Away by Sneaker Wave

Crews searched the waters of the entrance to Humboldt Bay after man was reported to have fallen into the water while fishing on the North Jetty. [All  photos by Mark McKenna]

Press release from Humboldt State University:

We are sad to share news that a Humboldt State University student was swept into the water at the North Jetty in Eureka today at about 4:30 p.m. He was hit by a sneaker wave, and has not been found.

Numerous agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard and other first responders, have been searching for the student.

Our thoughts are with all of those affected by this accident, and the University is reaching out to provide support to friends and others.

Students seeking support may contact Counseling & Psychological Services at 707.826.3236 (24-hour support and regular business hours) located at the Student Health Center. Students may also contact the Dean of Students Office at 211 Siemens Hall or 707.826.3504. Staff or faculty seeking additional support may utilize the Employee Assistance Program at 707.443.7358. We will keep the campus community updated as we learn more.

A US Coast Gaurd boat searched the waters of the entrance to Humboldt Bay after man was reported to have fallen into the water while fishing on the North Jetty.

Humboldt County Sheriff's personnel gather near a vehicle parked in the dunes near the north spit.

Humboldt County Sheriff’s personnel gather near a vehicle parked in the dunes near the north spit. 

A US Coast Gaurd Helicopter searched the waters of the entrance to Humboldt Bay.

 The HSU student still hasn’t been located.

Earlier: Water Rescue for Teen Near North Jetty




  • I seems like we loose a few HSU students to the waters off of the North Jetty every Fall.
    … sad …

    • You wanna link to any other instance of this happening? Not that I don’t believe you, but I don’t believe you.

      • People being swept off the jetty has been happening for years.

        The South Jetty used to be the worst, back in those day’s it wasn’t closed with a gate.
        Back then the road was paved out to the jetty, (road was left over from jetty construction)
        you’d get to the big concrete slab and and you could drive out on the jetty in a conventional car.

        I remember a carload of high school teens was swept off in the late 1960’s (or so ??).
        Multiple deaths… maybe 4 ?

        I’ve been out to the end of both of them. (Summer on a slack low tide, with low swells.)
        You will realize the power of the ocean. It’s a ‘scary’ place out there.

    • It’s always been a bad spot. Don’t even get me started on crossing the bar on the north side, other than DON’T.

      It’s notorious up and down the west coast.

      Years ago, a teenage girl got knocked off the north jetty. A fellow troller found her body sometime later ( a month? something like that) and had to get a rope around the body till the Coast Guard could get out to recover her. It was pretty grisly.


  • Yes, by all means, offer these emotionally fragile “students” counseling.

  • Very sad! Are there signs at the jetty entrance/trail to warn people???

  • There are signs, plenty, but its always a judgement call. Going out there is risky but the jetty is a resource many enjoy ( In part because it is an exception to stupid unfair fishing licensure laws).
    You have to get down on the rocks to put a line in the water. This time of year the nice weather is decpetive and there are often big swells in calm looking water. Never turn your back on the ocean. It can happen to any surfer, fisherman, local, student, or visitor.

  • I was nearly been blown off the jetty by a sneaker wave. Keep an eye out at ALL times, for sure.

    What worked out was my not running in any direction, you can’t run very far and you’ll still get swept out from underneath your feet by the onrush of water. But it wasn’t like I was thinking about that. I crouched and ducked down directly behind the concrete jetty wall, letting the wave blow over the top. The wall made a solid small hiding space, there was no force or pressure on me at all. It surprised me, it was just dumb luck and it worked.

    I ran all the way back to my car as fast as my wet, wobbly banjo-legs legs would carry me. I felt ashamed and stupid. I hope you don’t find yourself in this situation but if you do, duck behind the wall.

  • Sad indeed. Ocean currents go south from there, bodies float in salt water, sink in fresh.

  • Please remove “dirty white boy’s” comments immediately. After multiple hate crimes in 72 hours in the US, the last thing this family needs is racist ignorant comments. Shameful

  • So sad.
    We really need HSU to provide new students with information about how dangerous many of our ocean areas are, fishing on the jetty is not like fishing the jetties in so cal. Our ocean entrance is friggin intense!!

    The locals put up a really good really large sign on the trail down to black sands beach. The jetty both north and south could use a similar one. I know more people whove gotten hurt there than any other spot, either on the rocks or in the water.
    Anyone near black sands willing to take a photo of that sign&send to kym or post here? The placement is great too.

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