'Logs on the beach are like ammunition'

'Logs on the beach are like ammunition' »Play Video

Diane Wetzel-Price and her family went to spend spring break at the Oregon Coast 13 years ago.

Her 11-year-old son Jacob and his friend asked to go to play on the beach.

"It was minutes later I heard screaming and they were yelling," she said. "The neighbors were yelling 'get him! get him!' and I went out there and they said 'There's a boy been hurt.'"

Jacob and his friend had been playing on a log in the surf.

The log rolled.

Jacob fell.

He hit his head and died instantly.

"They were using those paddles and I just kept saying 'Come on, Jacob. Come on. You can do it,' " Wetzel-Price said. "Then when reality ... when they finally said, 'There's nothing we can do.' Then wow. My heart just ripped out."

Since 2001, there hasn't been a log roll death on the Oregon Coast.

Wetzel-Price is a big reason why.

"Just to have one more family suffer like we were -- I just knew I had to do this," she said.

Diane is the creator of the "Stay Off Logs" campaign.

Before the campaign launched, Oregon averaged at least two log deaths per year on the coast, said Lt. Jim Kusz with the North Lincoln Fire and Rescue.

"We have seen a large reduction in log deaths," he said. "Unfortunately I think that message is getting a bit lost as time goes by."

Rescue workers said they're seeing more and more beachgoers climbing on logs. They worry people are forgetting about the dangers.

It only takes about 4 inches of water to lift and float a 5-ton log the weight of two elephants. Combined with powerful waves, a big log can show up seemingly out of nowhere.

Bob Gibson was walking on the beach when he was the victim of a one-two-punch: a sneaker wave carrying a log.

"It was right next to me and of course with the surge coming in -- I thought this is not going to be a good thing," Gibson said.

The log knocked him underwater, but it didn't pin him in the surf.

"The sneaker wave happened so quickly," Gibson said, "and these logs on the beach are like ammunition."