Body found on Oregon beach was tsunami victim

Body found on Oregon beach was tsunami victim
Dustin Weber (February 2009 photo released by Bonny Elliott via NewsChannel 21/KTVZ.com)
ASTORIA, Ore. -- A body that washed ashore in Oregon has been identified as the man who was swept out to sea in California in a tsunami surge generated thousands of miles away by the earthquake off Japan's coast.

The body of Dustin Douglas Weber, 25, was found April 2 by a person walking on the shore south of the Columbia River.

Weber was swept away near the mouth of the Klamath River in California on March 11.

He is the first person on the West Coast killed by a tsunami since 1964, when 11 people in Crescent City, Calif. died from the surge created by an earthquake in Alaska.

In the hours after the major quake off the coast of Japan, the official warnings had said the tsunami would hit the West Coast around 7:30 a.m., and Dustin thought the danger had passed at that time, according to his family.

He did not understand that the wave surges would get bigger and go on for hours, his mother said. Dustin was skipping rocks into the river when he was swept away.

"He was not looking in the direction it was coming from, but they saw it coming," his mother said. "They tried to run down there and save him. One of the guys almost had him by the shirt. They couldn't save him.

"They tried to yell for him, but the ocean was too loud."