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Chinese overseas

Chinese immigrant couple killed on Oregon coast when wave washes them out to sea

Ten-year-old daughter survives tragedy that claimed lives of Chen Miaochan, 49, and Zhu Wenjun, 41, who had recently moved to the US

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 September, 2018, 8:40am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 September, 2018, 8:40am

A wave hit two recent immigrants from China as they visited the Oregon Coast, sweeping them out into the ocean and killing them.

Chen Miaochan, 49, and Zhu Wenjun, 41, from Lake Oswego, Oregon, perished on Sunday but their 10-year-old daughter was unharmed, Captain Tim Fox of the Oregon State Police said Monday.

The family had been picnicking near Depoe Bay when they took a trail down to rocks overlooking the ocean. A wave washed over the rocks, engulfing the couple.

A Coast Guard helicopter and boat searched, and they were found and helicoptered from the ocean to a nearby state park. Life saving measures were attempted as they were driven by ambulance to a hospital, but they succumbed to their injuries.

The family immigrated in July. A state agency placed their daughter into a local foster home.

Family members were notified with the help of the Chinese Consulate. The Department of Human Services will be working with the families for the daughter’s further placement.

So-called sneaker waves sometimes claim lives of the unwary along the coast of the Pacific Northwest.

Tuba Ozkan-Haller, a wave researcher at Oregon State University, recommends that when people go to the beach in Northern California, Oregon and Washington state – which because of the nature of the coastline are susceptible to sneaker waves – they study the wave action and ensure escape routes aren’t blocked by rocks or cliffs.