Tsunami Devastates Crescent City Harbor; Coroner IDs Man Swept To Sea

CRESCENT CITY (CBS/AP) — Authorities have released the name of man who was swept out to sea during Friday’s tsunami in Northern California.

Del Norte County Sheriff Dean Wilson said Dustin Webber was swept away and disappeared while taking pictures of the tsunami near the Klamath River.

Wilson said the 25-year-old Webber had just move to Klamath from Bend, Oregon.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Pamela Manns said the search was suspended Friday after crews in boats and in helicopters covered more than 250 square miles looking for the man.

Meantime, fishermen who had escaped to sea before the tsunami hit this struggling coastal town landed small loads of crab on Saturday while curious townsfolk came to survey the damage and cleanup crews readied their gear.

“This harbor is the lifeblood of our community and the soul of our community,” said Del Norte County Sheriff Dean Wilson as he looked across what was left of the boat basin. “The fishing industry is the identity and soul of this community, besides tourism.

“It’s going to be hard to recover here.”

A series of powerful surges generated by the devastating earthquake in Japan arrived here at about 7:30 a.m. Friday and pounded the harbor through the day and night.

Waves funneled into the sheltered docks created furious currents that heaved up docks, broke loose boats, and sent them careening around like billiard balls. Eight are believed sunk, and one damaged. An unmanned sailboat sucked out of the harbor ran aground on the coast.

On Saturday, a sheen of oil floated on the water in the basin, seagulls feasted on mussels exposed by upended docks, and sea lions barked. About 80 percent of the docks that once sheltered 140 boats were gone.

Cleanup crews were assembling, but divers could not go into the water and workboats could not maneuver until the tsunami surges were completely done, said Alexia Retallack, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Fish and Game.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)


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