Good Samaritan, Coast Guard rescue 5 people on the Columbia River Bar

WARRENTON, Ore. — A Good Samaritan and Coast Guard crews rescued five people and recoverd one person from a capsized boat on the Columbia River Bar, Friday.

Coast Guard Sector Columbia River watchstanders received a call, at 9:19 a.m., from the crew of the 27-foot vessel Teresa D, stating that they had witnessed a 25-foot aluminum guide boat capsize on the Columbia River Bar with people in the water and that they were trying to rescue survivors.

Coast Guard watchstanders directed the launch of two 47-foot Motor Life Boat crews from Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment in Ilwaco, Washington, and a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Astoria, Oregon. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Fir, an Astoria-based buoy tender, and an MLB crew from the Coast Guard National Motor Life Boat School in Ilwaco, Washington, also responded and helped with search efforts.

The crew of the Teresa D reported rescuing five people from the water, but that a sixth person was still missing.

Once Coast Guard response crews arrived on scene, the good Samaritan crew of the Teresa D departed the area and safely transported the survivors to EMS at Station Cape Disappointment.

During the continued search, a rescue crew aboard a Station Cape Disappointment MLB was able to locate the missing individual. The missing male was found unresponsive and entangled in fishing gear and boat debris. The rescue crew was able to cut him free from the gear and bring him aboard the boat.

Boat crewmembers, along with the help of a rescue swimmer lowered from the Jayhawk helicopter, attempted to resuscitate the unresponsive man. Unfortunately their efforts were unsuccessful.

“Our thoughts and condolences are with the families and loved ones of those affected in today’s tragedy,” said Capt. Bruce Jones, commanding officer, Sector Columbia River. “This tragic event could have been much worse without the quick efforts of the good Samaritans. Their quick thinking and selfless efforts saved five people today.”

This case highlights how quickly conditions can change along the Pacific coast. Weather conditions were reported as fairly calm Friday morning, however, conditions were quickly changing which prompted the Coast Guard to issue a warning broadcast at approximately 8:30 a.m. At the time of the incident, the sea waves at the Columbia River Bar were reported at more than 8 feet and building.

The quick-changing conditions and unpredictable nature of the Columbia River Bar highlight the importance of being prepared for an emergency on the water, including wearing life jackets, carrying flares and having a way to call for help.

All individuals on board the capsized vessel were wearing lifejackets at the time of the incident. There were no injuries reported among the survivors.

The vessel reportedly sank immediately after capsizing, there have been not reports of pollution, however, debris was seen in the area.

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