If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, you may never have heard of a 'sneaker wave.'
I hadn’t either, so when I came across this news story, I felt at a bit of a loss. Then I read on and learned something that every person who ever visits certain beaches should know.
In fact, if Heathyr Croasman had known what was coming after her that day while enjoying the view of the Oregon coast, she may have chosen a different spot to sit.
A woman was seriously injured on an Oregon beach over the weekend when she was “crushed” by an unusually powerful and unexpected wave that hit her as she sat upon a large log.
The woman is recovering in the hospital with more than a dozen broken ribs and a broken tailbone.
According to Fox News, Nehalem Bay Fire & Rescue posted about the incident on Facebook, saying that the woman was “crushed” when the giant log she was sitting on was knocked around by a forceful “sneaker wave” at Manzanita Beach.
A family friend tells KATU News that "Heathyr Croasmun, 44, was at the beach near Manzanita with friends and sitting on the log when a sneaker wave rushed up the shore, rolling the log on top of her."
So what exactly is a “sneaker wave?”
A sneaker wave is a particularly strong wave that often strikes without warning. These types of waves have been known to claim the lives of unwary beachgoers and are common in the Pacific Northwest.
According to the Oregonian, all major incidents involving sneaker waves have occurred between the months of October and April, peaking in November and March. Since 1990, these gigantic water surges have killed 21 people.
Ms. Croasman was seriously hurt in the incident, sustaining severe injuries to her back, chest, and spine. She was flown to Portland for further treatment after EMS provided initial care. Ms. Croasman is expected to recover from her injuries.
Lesson learned? So, if you happen to be in the Pacific Northwest between the months of October and April, and plan to visit the beach, be sure to keep an eye out for these insidious waves.
And it would be wise to follow the advice of Nehalem Bay Fire & Rescue while you are there: “NEVER turn your back on the ocean!”
To get an idea of what kind of power a sneaker wave carries, you can see four of them in the video, below.