NESKOWIN, Ore. – A romantic marriage proposal on the Oregon coast turned deadly for the bride-to-be when a wave swept her out to sea. Scott Napper had taken 22-year-old Leafil Alforque to Proposal Rock near Neskowin Beach to pop the question at a place that got its name from couples ready to marry. Napper and Alforque had been dating since they met on the Internet in 2005.
But Alforque had arrived in Oregon on a visa from the Philippines just three days before the fateful trip to the coast.
Napper said the tide had receded around Proposal Rock on Saturday when the couple began to walk to it. He planned to propose and give her the ring he carried in his pocket.
About 10 feet from the rock, a wave about 3 feet high suddenly came toward them.
"I turned into it to keep from getting pulled under it," Napper said.
By the time he turned to find Alforque, only 4-foot-11 and 93 pounds, she had been caught by the receding waters.
"She was about 30 feet away, getting swept away," Napper said.
The 45-year-old Silverton man tore off his jacket to get rid of any extra weight, and when he looked up again she was gone.
"That's the last I saw of her," he said in an interview Wednesday, breaking into tears.
Emergency personnel called by a someone on the beach arrived within minutes. His own phone no longer worked after being exposed to the water.
Along with rescuers, he searched for any sign of Alforque.
"I yelled for her," he said. "I was praying to God."
At one point, he saw someone wearing red — the color of her jacket — on the shore signaling for him. But he quickly realized it was a rescuer.
Thick fog and dangerous water conditions hampered the rescue efforts before the search was suspended on Monday.
Her 25-year-old sister, Nova Alforque, said the family hopes the body can be recovered.
"My mother is always crying, day and night," Nova Alforque said by telephone from the Philippines. "She wants my sister back. Even if she is dead, she wants her body to bury."
The Tillamook County Sheriff's Office is routinely checking the beach and looking for possible witnesses, said Sheriff Todd Anderson.
Police don't suspect foul play, he said.
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