Woman Crushed to Death by Tractor on California Beach

A woman lying on a beach in California has died after a large tractor ran over her.

The woman, who has not been identified, was seen at a beach in Oceanside in San Diego's North County on the morning of Monday, September 28.

Tom Bussey, spokesman for the Oceanside Police Department, told The San Diego Union-Tribune that the driver of the tractor was going along the beach when he felt a bump. The driver is said to have initially thought he hit a dip, but then turned and saw the woman.

The victim, who is believed to be aged in her 40s or 50s, may have been asleep, Bussey said.

The Caterpillar tractor was being used to remove a dredge pipe from the beach as part of a routine project which is required every couple of years.

A local surfer described seeing the woman on the beach in a "very fragile" state and asked the life guards to keep an eye on her.

"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 told NBC San Diego.

"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]."

"Something happened. A fluke thing, I don't know," Burneo added. "I'm sure her family is devastated over this and the driver, probably, who caused this."

Surf instructor John Daniels said that he recorded a city worker talking to the woman on his cellphone, about 10-15 minutes before the incident. Daniels, who said he keeps tabs on his surroundings, told The San Diego Union-Tribune that the worker told him they were checking on her welfare and offered her some water.

Daniels said he thought the woman might be homeless.

Mason Construction, the company that owns the Caterpillar tractor, is said they are "saddened by the tragic accident" in a statement.

"At this point, we do not know exactly what happened to cause the accident or why it happened," company President John Holmes said, reported KTLA. "But we are fully cooperating with the Oceanside Police Department in their investigation."

Oceanside City Manager Deanna Lorson added to The San Diego Union-Tribune that the city "expresses its condolences for the tragic death that occurred this morning."

The San Diego County Medical Examiners Office is due to determine a cause of death.

Oceanside Police said they do not believe drugs or alcohol played a part in the accident. The department has been contacted for further comment.

File photo. A group of young, unmasked people attends a beach party on September 19, 2020 in Marina del Rey, California. A woman lying on the beach in Oceanside in San Diego's North County has died after being run over by a large tractor. Amanda Edwards/Getty