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2 clam diggers perish in the surf on Washington beaches

Both victims were women who were clamming with their spouses on beaches along the coast.
Washington Coast Waves

Two people who were clam digging on separate beaches along the Washington coast have died after they were swept away by waves in Pacific County.

Both incidents were reported Friday night within four minutes of each other, and both victims were women.

According to the Pacific County Sheriff's Office, the first incident happened just before 9 p.m. at Oysterville beach on the Long Beach Peninsula. A 70-year-old woman who was clamming got caught in the surf. First responders were immediately dispatched to the area, but their search was hampered by rough surf and weather conditions.

A few minutes after the first call, dispatchers received a second call about a 61-year-old Toledo woman who was missing in the surf near Grayland. She had been digging clams with her husband when they became separated. Rescuers from several agencies searched the area, but their search came up empty.

The bodies of both women were found on beaches in Grays Harbor County and Pacific County on Saturday.

"These incidents serve as a tragic reminder that one must always be vigilant of the powerful surf and waves that are often present on our ocean beaches. Always stay close to other clammers, bring a flashlight or lantern, a waterproof cell phone, and never turn your back on the surf as "sneaker waves' can appear at any time," says the Pacific County Sheriff's Office.