Three people have drowned trying to save a dog in California, according to reports out this week.
Tragedy struck when a mother and father, as well as their 16 year old son, were dragged out to sea over the weekend when the family dog got in trouble in the Pacific Ocean waters.
Noticing that the family dog was in trouble, the teenage boy jumped into the water in an attempt to help the pet. However, the turbulent waters dragged him deeper too and soon he was having difficulties himself.
That sparked off a chain of self-sacrifice as father Howard Kuljian, 50, and mother Mary Scott, 54, both also went into the waters to help.
However, tragically all three members of the family were unable to cope with the strong currents and were dragged out to sea. The family dog did manage to fight his way out of the water, however, and survived the incident.
Deputy Ariel Gruenthal of the Humboldt County Coroner's office confirmed to media that both parents had died, and their son, Gregory Kuljian, remained missing, lost at sea.
"The dog was able to get out somehow," said Dana Jones, a state parks and recreation district superintendent, according to Reuters. "It's very sad, and we just always have to be aware when we're around the ocean that nature is sometimes out of control."
Others in the group who were walking along the steep beach at Big Lagoon, about 270 miles north of San Francisco, survived – including the parent's 18 year old daughter, as well as Gregory's girlfriend. They did not enter the water.
According to reports, the father threw a stick for the dog to fetch when a big wave, possibly as high as 10 feet, dragged the dog into the sea.
The son immediately ran in after the dog to try and help.
Jones described, "Then the father went in to save the son. The mother was swept in at that point. The waves are big and powerful, and that's a very steep beach. The waves pound the beach. When the waves are pounding like that, you don't have a chance to breathe."
Rescuers later found the bodies of the parents on the shore nearby, however, they were unable to locate the son's body after an air and sea search, according to Reuters.