Giant Wave Kills Tourist; Freak Accident In Cabo San Lucas Leaves A Second Victim In Serious Condition

on March 7, 2013 10:26 AM EST

giant wave kills tourist
A giant wave pulled a tourist out to sea and killed her. (Photo: Reuters)

A giant wave killed a tourist in Cabo San Lucas and nearly claimed the life of her friend as the pair went for what was supposed to be an idyllic walk on the beach. State police say the two were walking back to their hotel near the famous stone arch in Cabo when they were hit by the giant wave that killed the tourist after it dragged them out to sea on Tuesday. They were rescued by Navy personnel. The woman was declared dead and the man was in serious condition Wednesday.

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Authorities say the woman had a Wisconsin driver's license and the man had one from Nebraska, but it was unclear where they were currently living or whether next of kin have been notified.

According to local forecasts, the average wave heights expected for Cabo San Lucas today are around 5 feet. With medium to small waves on the forecast, the giant wave that killed the tourist was certainly an anomaly and came without warning.

Although the giant wave that killed the tourist was not technically a rip tide, the survival tips are the same. If a giant wave, or a rip tide, carries you out to sea there a few steps you should take in order to give yourself the best chance of survival. Here's what the National Weather Service recommends you do if you're ever swept out to sea:

If caught in a rip current:

  • Remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly.
  • Never fight the current.
  • Think of it like a treadmill that cannot be turned off, of which you need to step to the side.
  • Swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim at an angle -- away from the current -- towards shore.
  • If you are unable to swim out of the rip current, float or calmly tread water. When out of the current, swim towards shore.
  • If you are still unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself by waving your arm and yelling for help.

The giant wave that killed the tourist could have behaved very differently from a rip tide current and illustrates that sometimes there is nothing you can do to protect yourself from the raw power of mother nature.

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