NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA) — New focus has been placed on a beautiful stretch of Laguna Beach after an elderly woman was swept away and drowned by the choppy waters this week.

A woman identified as 70-year-old Chia Wen Keh of Irvine was walking along the rocks on Victoria Beach with her husband Wednesday evening when a rogue wave reportedly swept both of them away.

A good Samaritan tried to rescue the woman, holding on to her for a moment, but ultimately, he couldn’t keep her from slipping away.

The tragedy is a reminder of the dangerous conditions at the gorgeous destination.

“Victoria’s got a really strong wave force, and it’s dangerous,” local Sandy Frei told CBS2 News. “It’s dangerous. People need to know that.”

Frei was on the beach when the couple was overtaken by a wave.

“All of a sudden, a wave came up and got us wet, and we thought, ‘Wow, that’s really weird,'” said Frei. “And we looked over at the rocks, and there are people on the rocks, and we’re going, ‘You shouldn’t be out there.'”

“I did not know about, I guess, the fatality thatwe’re just hearing about, but I kind of got that unsafe feeling,” said beach-goer Rachel Luciak. “So, I kind of stopped and said, ‘Hey, this isn’t safe. I don’t feel comfortable.’ […] You can’t undervalue the power of the current.”

The woman’s husband survived and was treated at a local hospital.


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