Naperville man and a former Naperville woman vacationing separately in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, drowned days apart after large, unexpected waves swept them into the Pacific.
Beverly Skripsky, 67, of Scottsdale, Ariz., formerly of Naperville, died Sunday October 22, as did twin sister Barbara Thomas, of McKinney, Texas, when they were dragged out to sea by a rogue wave that hit them as they strolled on the beach, a relative said. The sisters had gone for a walk before breakfast but did not return.
Five days earlier, Naperville resident Steven Urycki was surf fishing with his brother-in-law at a popular spot on the beach near the Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach Golf & Spa Resort when he was hit by a similar freak wave. Despite attempts by his brother-in-law to grab him, the Naperville man was pulled into the ocean by the strong undertow.
Urycki was vacationing in Mexico with his sister Michaeline Reinke and her husband Ron Reinke in celebration of Urycki’s 65th birthday and his and wife Ann’s 35th wedding anniversary, said Patricia Aguglia, Ann’s sister.
The couple had vacationed in Cabo San Lucas several times previously, but the extreme wave was much higher and stronger than Urycki anticipated, Aguglia said.
Beaches on the Pacific and Sea of Cortes sides of the southern Baja California peninsula near Cabo San Lucas can be dangerous due to strong currents, rip tides and rogue waves, according to the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico.
Because not all hazardous beaches are clearly marked, swimmers, waders and people walking on the sand have been washed into the ocean by extreme waves, the embassy notes.
Last year five U.S. citizens drowned in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur, U.S. State Department figures show. One death was reported in the first sixth months of 2017.
Because of that, Naperville travel agents like Alyce Jenson of Wehrli Travel say they caution vacationers of the dangers before booking trips.
Jenson said Cabo San Lucas is a popular vacation destination for Naperville residents.
Dawn Reynosa, one of the owners of My Travel Agent in Naperville, said she first asks clients how important swimming or fishing in the ocean is to them and then directs them to the proper resort.
For those who want to wade in the water, Reynosa, who’s traveled to Mexico multiple times, steers customers to hotels closer to town where the swimming beaches are located.
If travelers are fine with swimming in a pool, she’ll suggest resorts up the Pacific coast.