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Coast Guard, locals rescue 3 boaters in Columbia River

Coast Guard, locals rescue 3 boaters in Columbia River, MH-60 Jayhawk Air Station Astoria
Archive image: a U.S. Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk from Coast Guard Station Astoria, Ore., lifts a pilot from the 123rd Fighter Squadron, 142nd Fighter Wing from the Columbia River, July 7, 2016, during a joint water survival exercise.
U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. John Hughel, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs.

ASTORIA, Ore. – The Coast Guard and Multnomah County Fire Department rescue three people from two different boats Monday near Rooster Rock in the Columbia River.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Station Portland received a report at 6 p.m. from a person requesting assistance aboard an anchored and disabled 17-foot pleasure craft.

Commercial assistance was not available due to sustained winds of 36 mph with gusts up to 52 mph.

At 7 p.m., a 29-foot Response BoatSmall crew deployed from Station Portland while a helicopter crew from Coast Guard Sector Columbia River staged an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter to launch if weather conditions and remaining light inhibited the RB-S rescue crew’s mission.

A Coast Guard crew aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk Helicopter hoists two survivors from a 17-foot vessel in distress near Rooster Rock in the Columbia River, Washington side, Monday, September 7, 2020. The rescue crew experienced adverse weather conditions do to sustained 36 mph winds, 3-5 foot waves, and smokey haze generated from nearby wildfires.
U.S. Coast Guard video screenshot courtesy of Sector Columbia River.

While the RB-S rescue crew was en route to the two people, Coast Guard watchstanders received a second report from a 21-foot vessel grounded with one person aboard, also near Rooster Rock.

At 7:45 p.m. a Multnomah County Sheriff response boat crew launched to assist the 17-foot vessel.

The RB-S rescue crew located the 21-foot vessel at 8:30 p.m. and after several attempts, due to the heavy weather, recovered the person who was aboard.

With high winds, waves of 3 to 5 feet, shallow waters, and reduced visibility due to smoke haze from nearby wildfires, the RB-S and Sheriff’s rescue boatcrews reported they could not safely render assistance to the anchored 17-foot vessel.

At 8:45 p.m., the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Astoria launched to assist the vessel which was reportedly beginning to take waves over the bow.

The helicopter crew arrived on scene at 9:38 p.m. and safely hoisted both survivors from the vessel. They were transported to Troutdale Airport, where emergency medical service technicians were waiting to take the people into care. All survivors were reported to be uninjured and in good condition.

«Rescue missions in adverse conditions like we encountered last night present a particularly challenging environment for us to operate in,» said Capt. Gretchen Bailey, deputy commander of Sector Columbia River. «It was through teamwork among multiple Coast Guard units and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Department that we were able to get these three people safely to shore.»


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