68-year-old missing boater rescued from Huckleberry Island, Wash

Coast Guard Sector Columbia River MH-60 file photo

Coast Guard Sector Columbia River MH-60 file photo

SEATTLE — The Coast Guard and fellow first responders found and rescued a missing boater Tuesday morning after he was reported overdue Monday night.

68-year-old Gordon Hay, wearing a wetsuit and lifejacket, was hoisted by the aircrew of an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Sector Columbia River located in Warrenton, Oregon, and safely transferred to emergency medical services, at Anacortes Airport.

Hay’s wife reported him overdue at 9:51 p.m., Monday, after he did not return from a regular outing from Fildago Marina in Anacortes. The Coast Guard began search efforts by launching a boat crew aboard a 45-foot Response Boat–Medium from Coast Guard Station Bellingham, and diverted the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Terrapin, an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Bellingham and requested Canadian helicopter support from the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Victoria in British Columbia.

The aircrew aboard a CH-149 Cormorant helicopter from the Royal Canadian Air Force 442nd Rescue Squadron at Comox, British Columbia, located the man’s capsized boat at 1:59 a.m. A rescue swimmer was lowered to the water to survey under and around the boat, but was unable to find the missing man.

The Jayhawk aircrew launched from Sector Columbia River at 3:56 a.m. and arrived in the search area at 6:39 a.m. Officers from the Swinomish Police Department aboard a patrol vessel reported a man waving his arms and hailing them while standing on Huckleberry Island at 7:37 a.m. The officers then directed the Jayhawk aircrew, which was able to safely hoist the man. The man was confirmed to be Hay.

Hay was reported in ambulatory condition and EMS was requested to meet the aircrew at the Anacortes Airport. The man was transported to Skagit Valley Hospital in Anacortes for further care.

“This gentleman was lucky to survive this incident because he was wearing a wetsuit and a life jacket, but if he had been more prepared with any type of sound or signaling device he could have been rescued sooner,” said Cmdr, JoAnn Burdian, response division chief, Sector Puget Sound. “We are grateful for the help of our Canadian partners as well as the local responders who responded to help search for Mr. Hay. Without their efforts, we could still be out there searching and this case could have had a much different ending.”

Huckleberry Island is a small deserted island located east of Guemes Island in Padilla Bay.

Hay is responsible for contracting a salvage company to salvage his boat that was found capsized near Hat Island.


68-year-old male missing boater rescued from Huckleberry Island, Wash.

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