MUIR BEACH, Calif. (KRON) — A fisherman who was dragged into the ocean by a sneaker wave at Muir Beach in Marin County has been identified.

The drowning victim was identified by his fiancé as 29-year-old Jose Medardo Padilla of San Francisco.

“I lost the love of my life on Monday 2/7/22,” Shauna Hinson wrote on Facebook.

Padilla had gone fishing that day with two of his cousins at the picturesque beach. The three cousins were fishing and hiking on rocks below the Muir Beach Overlook when they were hit by a large wave.

Jose Padilla was swept into the ocean. He called out for help while struggling to keep his head above water.

His cousin, Marin Padilla, told KRON4, “He was asking, ‘help me, help me, help me.'”

Muir Beach (File Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

“I took my clothes off and jumped into the water. He was 12 feet away. He was already going down. I was trying to pull him, but he was pulling me down as well. The waves were insanely big, and they were pulling me down as well,” Marin Padilla said.

“I was swallowing a lot of water. I had to save myself, so I let him go. Even then, I couldn’t get to the nearest rock because the waves were too big,” Marin Padilla said.

Marin Padilla and the third cousin were rescued by a California Highway Patrol helicopter.

It took search and rescue crews four days to find Jose Padilla’s lifeless body.

His family said they are “devastated” by his sudden death.

Jose Padilla “filled the lives of those around him with joy,” according to his obituary.

His obituary writes that he was “born on 12/9/1992 to loving parents Gurillermina Ulloa and Jose Porfirio Padilla. He immigrated to the US from Honduras at age 15. He worked at Restaurant Gary Danko from 2008 until the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to close in 2020. At age 17, he worked while his father lost his battle to liver cancer. Afterward, Jose continued working while he got his GED in 2016 and went on to pursue a degree in Biotechnology at CCSF. He successfully completed his degree in 2021 but continued to take classes in order to transfer to University. Jose was a loving uncle and cousin and adored his family and friends. Jose was passionate about soccer and fishing, as well as helping others however he could. His presence is sorely missed and his loss is deeply felt. Jose is predeceased by his father. He is survived by his mother Gurillermina and his four siblings.”

According to the US Coast Guard, sneaker waves were responsible for 17 deaths along the California coast last year.

Search and Rescue Specialist with the Coast Guard, Douglas Samp says winter storms in the Gulf of Alaska caused the sneaker wave that killed Padilla.

“The Pacific Ocean waves are powerful, the water is turbulent, cold and the coastline is rocky and jagged and it’s very difficult to get out of the water once you’re inside the water,” Samp said.

In Marin County, Bret McTigue is in charge of coordinating water rescues.

He recommends checking the marine forecast before going near the water, having a life jacket on hand, and taking extra precautions if you’re going to fish the shoreline.

“Fish in a spot that is not going to be impacted by waves so not near Jedis or rock areas or a beach. Areas are elevated that you have a better platform, like a pier that might be safer,” McTigue said.

The drowning victim’s family has raised nearly $6,000 online for his memorial service and burial.