Coast Guard rescues fisherman as vessel sinks near Columbia River entrance

A 47-foot Motor Life Boat crew from U.S. Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment in Ilwaco, Wash., passes beneath the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse while traversing the bar at the mouth of the Columbia River, March 10, 2015. The lighthouse is the second structure planned for the location, after the supplies for the first structure were lost when the vessel Oriole wrecked directly below the cape while attempting to cross the bar Sept. 18, 1853. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer David Mosley)

A 47-foot Motor Life Boat crew from U.S. Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment traversing the bar at the mouth of the Columbia River (U.S. Coast Guard file photo by Chief Petty Officer David Mosley)

CAPE DISAPPOINTMENT, Wash. — The Coast Guard rescued a fisherman from the water Tuesday morning after his vessel began taking on water and sank near the Cape Disappointment bar.

At 1:30 a.m., watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River received a VHF-FM radio mayday call from a man aboard a 37-foot commercial fishing vessel taking on water near Cape Disappointment. A Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment 47-foot Motor Lifeboat crew and a Sector Columbia River MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew responded.

Watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast as they instructed the distressed mariner to activate the vessel’s emergency position indicating radio beacon and light off available flares.

The crew of Columbia River Bar Pilot boat Astoria heard the UMIB and diverted to assist in the rescue.

At approximately 2 a.m. the Coast Guard boatcrew arrived on scene and began passing a dewatering pump to the vessel in an attempt to control the flooding. During this operation, the vessel began taking on water at an increased rate and the distressed mariner entered the water escaping the sinking vessel.

The Coast Guard boatcrew recovered the man promptly from the water before transporting him to shore.

“The mariner was prepared for an emergency,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Caitlin Maronde, a crew member aboard the Station Cape Disappointment MLB. “Having the proper emergency equipment may have saved his life.”

Reported debris in the area may be hazardous to navigation. Mariners are urged to use caution while transiting the vicinity of the Columbia River mouth.

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