Sacramento County crabber dies in surf at South Beach

05/09/2019

A 74-year-old fisherman from Sacramento County died in his waders on South Beach last Saturday morning. Ki Chun Kim of Gold River had been looking for sand crabs with a group of friends but had been alone when he was pulled out to sea: his friends were taking a trip back to the parking lot. They discovered him upon their return to the beach, “floating face down unresponsive in the surf,” according to a report released on Tuesday by the coroner’s division of the Marin County Sheriff’s Office. One of the first witnesses to phone in the incident said the man’s cooler had been swept away and he had gone in after it before being swept away himself; however, the coroner’s report, which does not mention a cooler, states that he had his back to the water and was “presumably struck by a wave.” Mr. Kim was not wearing a life jacket, and his waders filled with water. A Coast Guard helicopter already in the area during a training responded to the scene along with personnel from multiple other agencies. A rescue swimmer dropped from the helicopter and brought the man to the shoreline. Resuscitative efforts were performed until Mr. Kim’s death was pronounced at noon. Jennifer Stock, the acting spokeswoman for the seashore, told the Light that the park plans to issue a notice of the event. “We want to encourage people to be really careful, especially on North and South Beach, considering the beach profile and the known rip tide currents that happen there frequently. We encourage people to stay away from the water and never turn their backs on the ocean,” she said. Ms. Stock added that those beaches, unlike Drakes or Limantour Beaches, where most people can stand a ways out, have steep drop-offs and strong tides that most swimmers can’t swim against. Between 2013 and 2014, North Beach saw two similar deaths: one man drowned just 15 feet from shore while trying to save his dog, and another, a fisherman, had run after his ice chest.