Kalaloch, WA Drowns In Tide, June 1978



Kalaloch, Wash. (AP) -- A sunny oceanside picnic turned to terror and tragedy when a slack tide churned into a killer surf, pulling seventh and eighth graders from the beach. Two were swept away and are listed as missing.
"I came pretty close to giving up myself. I was losing my sense of direction and starting to hallucinate," Volkert Volkersz, 27, a music teacher at Lake Quinault School, said Thursday.
"We started hearing kids screaming for help, saw kids pulling other kids out of the water," said Volkersz. "I jumped in and pulled out two." Another teacher rescued one pupil.
But there were two they could not reach, TERESA CASE, 14, of Amanda Park and DONALD HALE, 13, of Lake Quinault.
"I was all out of strength myself -- it just turned into a hopeless case," said Volkersz.
A U.S. Coast Guard cutter and helicopter searched for the missing children until dark.
Three students who suffered hypothermia, abnormally low body temperature, from the chilly surf and a fourth who broke a toe were taken to Forks General Hospital, said Jefferson County sheriff's Deputy Neil Adams. A hospital spokeswoman said all were released except for one girl with hypothermia.
"The children were playing in the surf at slack tide. The tide changed and started coming in. The surf built up, of course, and starting pulling them out and south," said Adams.
The beach is part of Olympic National Park on Washington's northwest coast. Adams said the beach slopes steeply into deep water and when surf begins to build, the waves are high.
MARTY CALDER, 14, son of principal Robert Calder, was swimming with about 20 other youngsters when the tide began to turn.
"We were just riding in on the waves and stuff, playing around, and kind of a big wave came in and everybody got scooted off the edge," he said. "People started swimming toward shore and calling for help."

Casa Grande Dispatch Arizona 1978-06-09