Fisherman dies at North Beach

01/23/2014

A Napa County octogenarian tragically passed away on the beaches of the Point Reyes National Seashore on Monday when he ran after his ice chest—and, we hope, a healthy catch—as it was swept into the ocean at North Beach. Silkapin Cruz, Sr., an 84-year-old who lived in American Canyon, was surf-fishing on a sunny holiday the afternoon of his death, a day on which the National Park Service had not issued any warnings for high surf. “It wasn’t a huge wave, but a wave knocked this individual down, and that was the last anyone ever saw of this man,” park spokesman John Dell’Osso said. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office sent its helicopter, Henry 1, to help with a rescue, but it was already too late. His body was recovered 45 minutes later, about 600 yards south of where he had been fishing. The peril that the Pacific Ocean can pose to innocent beach-goers at Point Reyes became clear to Mr. Dell’Osso on Tuesday. “I was at the lighthouse this afternoon and you can get a really vivid picture of how the water funnels out away from the beach back to the ocean. There was a riptide that must have gone out a half-mile, you could just see it as plain as day.” The last time someone passed away at the park was on Jan. 2, 2012, he said, when a couple taking a walk on Great Beach chased their dog, which had scurried into the water. The woman made it back to shore, but the man and the dog perished.