The woman killed when a piece of heavy machinery ran over her while she was lying on the beach in Oceanside has been identified, Oceanside officials said Wednesday.
The victim was Carol Aguirre, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner's office. She was 68-years-old and transient at the time of her death.
Emergency crews were called to 1202 N. Pacific St. just after 10 a.m. on Monday, an area near South Oceanside Harbor.
News from across California
Oceanside Police Department Lt. Tom Bussey told NBC 7 that Aguirre was sleeping on the beach by herself when a Caterpillar Tractor ran her over.
Aguirre died at the scene.
A local surfer told NBC 7 he saw Aguirre before he went into the water, and she seemed "very fragile" so he asked lifeguards to check on the woman.
"She was leaning up against a wall, ready to pass out and there was a gentleman that asked if she was OK and she seemed to say, 'I'm OK,' " Jay Burneo said. "When I came back out of the water I saw her laying here crumbled up, and that's when a police officer told me [what happened]."
There was heavy machinery on the beach because crews were in the process of wrapping up a routine dredging project at Oceanside Harbor, Bussey said, adding that dredging takes place there every couple of years.
“It’s a very tragic accident,” Bussey said.
Crews were in the process of using tractors to move dredge pipes to an equipment area so the pipes could eventually be hauled away, according to Bussey.
"Something happened -- a fluke thing; I don't know," Burneo said. "I'm sure her family is devastated over this and the driver, probably, who caused this."
The driver of the tractor was traveling north, backing up into a safety zone when he ran over the woman. The driver didn’t see her and was understandably shaken following the accident, Bussey added.
Aguirre had been lying on the sand for more than an hour prior to the incident. Bussey said she was fully clothed, not in a bathing suit.
Passersby spotted Aguirre lying on the beach at around 9 a.m. and had approached to see if she was breathing. Witnesses told police she seemed to be fine.
According to the lieutenant, depending on how deeply the victim was sleeping, she may not have even heard the tractor approaching. Bussey said he’s never seen an industrial incident like this happen in Oceanside.
The stretch of shoreline was roped off for many hours as authorities conducted an investigation into the deadly accident.
Oceanside police said the tractor was operated by Manson Dredge Co. Officials told NBC 7 the tractor weighs more than 50,000 pounds.
There was is no indication that drugs or alcohol contributed to the accident, Oceanside police said on Monday.