A woman died after being run over by a piece of heavy machinery while she was asleep on a beach in Oceanside Monday, authorities said.
Personnel from the Oceanside Police and Fire departments were called out to Oceanside Harbor Beach around 10 a.m. after receiving a report of an industrial accident.
A woman, believed to be in her late 40s to early 50s, had been struck by a large Caterpillar tractor that was being used to remove a dredge pipe from the beach, according to an Oceanside Police Department news release.
Thinking he had a hit a hole, the operator initially got out of the tractor after the collision, investigators said. That’s when the operator realized he had run over someone.
The woman was pronounced dead at the scene.
She did not have identification on her, KTLA sister station KSWB in San Diego reported.
It’s unclear if the victim was in a construction zone when the fatal accident — which was witnessed by a city lifeguard — occurred, according to KSWB.
Prior to the incident, there were some people who saw the woman lying on the sand and were concerned about her. One surfer who observed the woman said he thought she was sleeping on the beach — something police later confirmed.
“One of the folks asked her if she was OK and she seemed to be OK. So I walked out, went surfing, came back and saw her laying on the beach passed out,” the man said. “And I was concerned about her, so I asked another surfer, I go, ‘Hey can you check up soon this lady because I have an appointment I have to get to.'”
Alcohol and drugs were not believed to have been a factor in the incident, which remains under investigation, according to police.
The woman’s body was taken to the San Diego County Medical Examiners Office to determine a cause of death as well as make a positive identification.
The company that owns the Caterpillar, Manson Construction Co., issued a statement saying it is “saddened by the tragic accident.”
“At this point, we do not know exactly what happened to cause the accident or why it happened,” company President John Holmes wrote. “But we are fully cooperating with the Oceanside Police Department in their investigation.”