The United States embassy is alerting travelers of dangerous wave conditions in coastal areas of Baja California Sur after two sisters were swept away by a rogue wave on October 22.
It was the third day of a week-long vacation for Beverly Ann Skripsky of Scottsdale, Arizona, and Barbara Jo Thomas of McKinney, Texas, who were spending time in Cabo San Lucas with their husbands.
When the 67-year-old twins decided to take a morning walk along the beach, Barbara Jo Thomas invited her husband, Steve Thomas, to join them.
“My last memory was, ‘Come with us and go on the walk,'” recalled Thomas. “And I didn’t go. I literally watched her walk out the door and she wanted me to go with her.”
Shortly after, a big wave struck the beach and dragged the sisters into the sea.
Concerned because their wives hadn’t returned, their husbands alerted local authorities, triggering a search. The only thing found was a sandal belonging to one of the women.
“. . . when we found the sandal it was like my head told me they were gone, but my heart hoped against hope,” said Thomas.
“You had two wonderful people just walking on the beach and full of life a couple of hours before that, and they’re now gone,” he said.
After the tragedy, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico issued a warning due to the dangerous wave conditions in the Cabo area and the fact that not all hazardous beaches are clearly marked.
“Beaches on both the Pacific and Sea of Cortes [Gulf of California] sides of the Baja California peninsula, near Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo can be dangerous due to strong currents, rip tides and rogue waves,” said the travel advisory.
“Swimmers, waders and even people simply walking along the beaches have been washed into the ocean by rogue waves. Some have drowned and others have disappeared. Surfers and other water sports enthusiasts should always inquire about local conditions before going into the water,” it continued.
“There are certain beaches there that are killer beaches,” said Thomas. “If you’re out on the beach or in the ocean, you need to be very, very cautious of what’s going on around you.”