Families of drowned teens propose coastal safety marker

Families of drowned teens propose coastal safety marker »Play Video
A visitor pauses June 17, 2011, at the spot on the Oregon Coast where two Eugene high schools seniors were swept to their deaths by a sneaker wave.

YACHATS, Ore. - The families of two high school seniors who drowned on the Oregon Coast want to make sure another family never faces the same tragedy.

Connor Ausland and Jack Harnsongkram died in February after they were hit by a sneaker wave and pulled into the water.

At Smelt Sands State Park where they died, words of warning are clearly marked in the parking area of the state park.

But those warnings could go unnoticed if visitors enter the park from nearby neighborhoods and hotels.

"Our traditional approach doesn't work as well there. You can't just put up one sign in one place and reach everybody that is visiting this park on the coast," said Chris Havel, Oregon Parks and Recreation spokesman.

So the families propose placing a coastal safety marker at the spot.

"It would be better to know that it's a dangerous area because you wouldn't really know just by looking at it," said Cara Brasted, a friend of Harnsongkram's who visited the site Friday.

The project is still in the planning stages, but family and friends have started raising money for it. To learn more about the marker and how you can help, visit the project's website.