A GROUP of tourists have fallen victim to king-sized “sneaker waves” at a beach in a shocking video which demonstrates the potential danger of the ocean.
The massive waves are at first glance mild but surge up the coast farther and faster than expected, swallowing the unsuspecting.
Sneaker waves have proved fatal to people unaware or too trusting of the ocean despite its immense.
TikTok creator Kelsey Starlight shared a video of the phenomenon that has now been viewed 8.4million times.
In the clip, two people wearing large coats walk towards the water at black-sand beach Reynisfjara, in southern Iceland, and raise their hands up in the air while their friend behind them takes a picture.
All of a sudden, a wave roars towards them and all three tourists attempt to sprint away.
The wave grabs a hold of each of them and two fall to the ground.
One manages to stand and stumbles toward their friend, taking their hand as the ocean tries to pull them both away.
After a struggle, they manage to escape the ocean’s clutches – by the skin of their.
Five people have died and a dozen emergency calls have been made in relation to sneaker waves at Reynisfjara in the past decade, according to Reykjavík Excursions.
Kelsey, who posted the video to her page, wrote: “This is what happens when you’re a cocky tourist and don’t listen the rules whyyyy are people like this?!”
Reynisfjara is one of the most dangerous destinations in Iceland because of how regularly sneaker waves appear there.
But they are known to occur at surf coasts all over the world.
Tragic incidents are frequent on the coasts of central and northern California, Oregon, and Washington, as well as in Western Canada, on the southern coast of Iceland, and in Western Australia and Tasmania.
TikTok creator Kelsey said the terrifying waves “look calm and small, but are in fact so powerful, they drag people out to the ocean and people have died here”.
She added: “The number 1 rule at this beach is: ‘Never turn your back on the waves’ and to not go where you can’t see other footprints.
“Some people will do anything for a video/photo.”
Being swept into the ocean by a sneaker wave can be deadly, according to the National Weather Service, as it may result in cold water immersion.
The organisation states on its website: “There can be 10 to 20 minutes of small waves right before a sneaker wave.
“Logs on the beach are wet, extremely heavy, and can weigh hundreds of pounds. Yet a single sneaker wave can lift and roll these logs further up the beach, as well as roll them back down the beach, knocking over or pinning unsuspecting beachgoers.”
The NWS recommends anyone visiting places where sneaker waves are known to occur should watch the ocean for at least 20 minutes to get an idea of its movement and stay “farther back from the ocean than you think is necessary”.
A meteorologist at the NWS, Larry Smith, explained the danger of a sneaker wave is compounded by the speed at which it moves upon hitting the shore.
He said: “A lot of times these waves may only be four to six feet insea.
“But they’re moving at a much higher velocity than we usually see on the coast.”
In 2020, two young kids tragically drowned when a sneaker wave swept them out to sea during a coastal hike in Oregon.
Lola Stiles, seven, and her four-year-old brotherwere swallowed up by the freak surge along with their dad Jeremy, who survived.
Devastated mum Jamie Stiles revealed the tragedy at Cannon Beach “shattered” her life.
She said: “My babies loved adventure and I know they are off now on the grandest adventure of them all, together.”
Twenty-one deaths were attributed to sneaker waves in Oregon alone between 1990 and March 2021.