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Girl, 6, dies after getting knocked over by log while playing on beach

By Jessica M. Pasko, Santa Cruz Sentinel –

LIVE OAK, Calif. — A 6-year-old girl died after being knocked down by a log while playing on a Live Oak beach.

The girl was playing in the surf line late Thursday morning at the beach, according to Central Fire spokesman Mike DeMars. The recent storms have increased the amount of debris in the water and while she was playing, a large log washed in toward shore, knocking her down to the ground.

The log was then washed on top of her, pinning her under water long enough for her to lose consciousness.

The log was approximately 10 feet long and more than a foot wide, and had become water-logged, making it extremely heavy, according to authorities.

Other people at the beach aided family members in lifting the log off the girl before emergency crews arrived on scene. When crews arrived, the child remained unconscious and efforts to revive her were unsuccessful, DeMars said, although she did have vital signs.

The girl was then transported to Dominican Hospital, where she was stabilized before being airlifted to Stanford Hospital. She later died there, according to deputy April Skalland of the Sheriff’s Office.

The child was visiting Santa Cruz County from the San Jose-area and was staying with her family at a local vacation rental, Skalland said. Her name had not been released as of Friday afternoon.

It was not immediately known whether blunt force trauma had killed her or if she’d drowned while pinned under the water. Cause of death won’t be known until an autopsy can be performed.

In light of the child’s death, the Sheriff’s Office urged people to use extra caution while at the beach, particularly with the recent storms. Churning water can push debris into the ocean, causing hazards. Waves can easily sweep a child or adult off their feet, and the undertow can quickly pull them from shore, according to Skalland. She said extra caution should be taken around cliffs.

The Sheriff’s Office “is saddened by this tragic accident and would like to send our condolences to the family,” Skalland said.

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