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Coast Guard ends search for California teen swept to sea with parents

The Coast Guard called off its search Monday for a teenager who was swept to sea with his parents in northern California over the weekend while trying to rescue the family dog, saying it's not likely the 16-year-old boy could have survived the cold waters.

Officials recovered the bodies of the teen's mother and father Saturday afternoon at Big Lagoon, about 32 miles north of Eureka, Calif., in Humboldt County. Authorities say the family was trying to rescue their dog from powerful surf, after the canine was pulled into the ocean by powerful, 10-foot waves, The Associated Press reported.

The Humboldt County Coroner's office on Monday identified the parents as Mary Elena Scott, 57, and Howard Kuljian, 54, of Freshwater, Calif. The missing teen was identified as Gregory Kuljian.

Coast Guard Lt. Bernie Garrigan told the AP the search for the missing boy was stopped Monday, saying that a person without a wetsuit could not survive for long in the frigid surf.


On Saturday, the teen had gone after the dog, and the father followed him into the water to attempt a rescue, State Parks District Superintendent Dana Jones told the AP. The 16-year-old was able to get out of the waves, but then went back into the water with his mother to find his father, the AP reported.

"Both were dragged into the ocean," Jones told the AP, noting that the dog got out of the water on its own.

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The Coast Guard said the parents' daughter reportedly was the one who called 911, The Times-Standard in Eureka reported.

Earlier, the AP reported the Coast Guard tried using a helicopter and two motor life boats to try to find the missing teen, but thick coastal fog had suspended the aerial search.

Officials say the Big Lagoon beach has a steep shoreline where the waves roll in and crash onto the sand, which makes the area dangerous, the AP reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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