2 Missing Children Presumed Dead After Father Drowns Trying to Save Them at California Beach

Street view of Blind Beach in Sonoma County

Michael Wyman, 40, of Petaluma selflessly jumped into the raging waters trying to save his 7-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son.  Both children are still missing and are presumed dead, said the Sonoma County Sheriff. 

A father drowned trying to rescue his two young children who still remain missing, after they were swept out to sea in the turbulent waters at a California beach, according to a report. On Sunday, Michael Wyman, 40, of Petaluma selflessly jumped into the raging waters trying to save his 7-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son. Both children are still missing and are presumed dead, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department, KRON 4 reported.

"At this point, it's a body recovery, and we're hoping they wash up, unfortunately," Sonoma County Sheriff Lt. Michael Raasch told the news station. ”That way, the mom can have some sort of closure.

For the last two days, the Coast Guard crew, California Highway Patrol officers, lifeguards, sheriff deputies and helicopters have been searching for the missing children as they continue to battle dangerous weather conditions, CBS SF reported.

A high surf advisory has been in place along the coast until Tuesday afternoon due to the dangerous sneaker waves and strong rip currents with swell heights up to 24 feet reported by local forecasters. “Very rough seas, very active right now,” Raasch said. “The waves are very treacherous, even very strong swimmers would have trouble getting out of the water.”

Raasch said the fog made the search even more cumbersome for the team, People magazine reported. 

"We found a pair of shoes that washed up, a jacket, but no sign of the kids,” Raasch said.

The tragedy that took place at Blind Beach in Jenner near Sonoma County started out as a quiet family day at the beach until the ocean waters became deadly, swallowing the two youngsters that were playing near the water. Their dad jumped in to save them, officials reported. At 2:30 p.m., Raasch received a distress call alerting him that three people were in the water and caught in a riptide, CBS SF reported.

“What we learned was that two children were playing close to the water at Blind Beach and they were swept out to sea,” he said. “The father who was nearby jumped into the water to try to save the two kids.”

Raasch told CBS SF that the father was able to reach one of the children in the violent rip current, but eventually was overcome by the raging waters. “He apparently grabbed onto the 4-year-old and was trying to pull him in and apparently got swept out further.”

During this heroic act, the father ended up drowning.

Raasch said Wyman's wife and a friend were able to pull his body to the sand, so he didn't get swept back out to sea, People reported. 

Raasch told CBS SF that the family had recently moved to Sonoma County from out of state and expressed his condolences to the family. The California Highway Patrol created a Facebook post about the tragedy, so people can share their grief.

"Praying these children are found ! Truly heartbreaking," someone wrote.

"Sonoma County beaches are so dangerous...they just are, how tragic," wrote another.

Raasch said this time of year, the surf is really rough. "Unfortunately ... I've been out here and seen this a few times before, This is probably the worst one, though. Not probably — it is," he told People.