7-Year-Old Girl Recovers From Serious Accident Near Coos Bay

Date: April 1, 2011
Location: Public beach adjacent to Coos Bay
Name: Kya Blake

A seven-year-old girl has made a miraculous recovery from a potentially fatal accident during a family day out on the beach.

It was nearly 3 p.m. in the afternoon, and Kya Blake, of Raymond, OR, and two friends were kneeling on a giant log, giggling as maybe an inch or two of water washed in and around the log. Suddenly, a large wave of maybe two and a half feet in height rolled in, according to Kya’s mother, Kari Blake, 31. The wave lifted the log, which rolled the girls off and trapped two of them underneath. Anxious parents immediately ran to assist the girls. Kya’s friend, Jade Wheeler, age 12, also of Raymond, was quickly freed and rushed to receive emergency attention. Kya remained trapped face down, however, and by the time she was finally freed, she had stopped breathing.

For ten days, Kya remained unresponsive, and doctors at Portland’s Doernbecher Hospital warned Kya’s parents to prepare for the worst. Little brain activity was detected, and physicians even questioned the parents as to whether Kya would want to remain being tube fed for the rest of her life. Thankfully, after 10 days, she opened her eyes. The following day, she was watching television, and earlier this month, she began walking again, with the use of a walker, something doctors had indicated they didn’t believe would ever be possible. Apart from sand and sediment still trapped in her lungs, Kya’s parents say she is “all there.”

According to Oregon Parks and Recreation Department’s Robert Smith, no less than 13 people have been killed or injured in log-related incidents at Oregon beaches since 1990. Smith says that as little as four inches of water can float a 5-ton log. “I’ve seen them (giant logs) in the surf, spinning like a helicopter blade,” Smith said.

After two log-related deaths occurred in 1997 and 1998, the Oregon Legislature directed the Oregon Parks Department to begin a beach safety program, and to place special emphasis on the danger of logs.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Kya and her family, in the sincere hope that Kya makes a full and speedy recovery. While it’s quite possible that no one can be blamed for what happened to Kya, it is very important to remember that if a city, state, county or other public body is being sued, a Tort Claim Notice must be received by the entity being sued within 180 days of the injury. Anyone considering taking such an action must not miss this deadline! ORS 30.275 contains the details. If you cannot figure them out by yourself, or if you have any questions regarding a tort action, please call our Portland accident lawyers at 503-222-4411. We’d be happy to help you.