A 55-year-old Woodinville man, a nurse at Seattle's Harborview Medical Center, died Saturday afternoon off Cape Disappointment State Park on the Washington Coast while attempting to raft in the surf.
Pacific County Sheriff Scott L. Johnson said John Beaumeir and a friend--a fellow nurse at Harborview, Israel Anderson, 28--capsized after taking an inflatable raft into the strong surf.
The pair managed to right the raft, which partially deflated at some point, and Anderson was able to get back in, but Beaumeir could not. He was found unconscious in the water within 200 yards of the park’s Benson Beach by the Pacific County Surf Rescue Team, which had arrived within minutes of a call to police. He was taken to shore, where CPR was started, and then to Ocean Beach Hospital in Ilwaco, where he was pronounced dead.
“From what we learned, the raft capsized at least three times and they were ejected,” Johnson said. “The younger man was able to climb back in and paddle to shore.” Neither was wearing a life vest.
Beaumeir had been camping with his family at the park, which is at the very south end of the Washington Coast where the Columbia River meets the ocean.
Sheriff Johnson said authorities recommend that visitors never swim in the surf or attempt to boat in it without proper training and equipment.
“A lot of times I think people from out of the area don’t realize how dangerous the ocean is,” he said. “We tell people ‘enjoy the ocean,’ but not to go over their ankles. That might seem extreme, but the surf is unforgiving and there can be undertows.”
Beaumeir’s family was at the park campground when informed of the accident. “I understand they were devastated,” he said.
Johnson said the rescue team, which used Jet Skis in the 3:30 p.m. rescue, did everything it could, but could not save Beaumeir. “I can’t say enough good about them. They’re volunteers and they do an incredible job for us.”