One woman died after she and a friend visiting the Peninsula from England were rescued Monday from the ocean off Carmel River State Beach.
The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office confirmed late Monday that Ann Houffe, 63, was pronounced dead at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. Houffe and her friend Angela Jewell, also 63, were at the beach with their husbands.
One of the men said the women were on the beach near the surf when a large wave rolled in and swept both out about 3:15p.m. The men called for help, and a state parks lifeguard was the first to arrive.
He was able to reach Jewell and stayed with her until a rescue boat arrived to pick her up, said Dana Jones, superintendent of state parks’ Monterey sector. The rescuers were unable to reach Houffe, and she drifted farther into the water and disappeared. While rescuers continued to search for Houffe, her anxious husband waited on the beach with his friend.
He said he saw the two women get pulled into the water but didn’t go after them because he isn’t a strong swimmer. He ran to call for help. A Coast Guard helicopter arrived from San Francisco, and the crew spotted Houffe in the water. She was rescued about 90 minutes after she was swept out.
Jude Acosta, a Cal Fire battalion chief, said Houffe was not breathing and rescuers immediately began CPR. She was taken to Community Hospital, where she could not be revived.
Jewell was in good condition when she was pulled from the water, officials said. Jones said that if anyone gets into trouble near the shoreline, the best thing to do is to wait just beyond where the surf breaks for rescuers to arrive. The strong surf can be deadly, she said, for those who try to make it out on their own.