ASTORIA, Ore. — A newly minted Coast Guard rescue swimmer saved a man’s life Friday on the mouth of the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington state simply after an enormous wave rolled the yacht he was piloting and threw him into the surf.
Video from a Coast Guard helicopter captured a part of the dramatic save. Petty Officer Michael Clark says the company obtained a mayday name at about 10 a.m., with no further info.
The company was capable of triangulate roughly the place the decision was coming from, and Coast Guard crews on vessels and in a helicopter who occurred to be coaching close by responded. They discovered the 35-feet (11-meter) yacht, the P/C Sandpiper, taking up water in 20-foot (6-meter) seas — which means the peak of a wave from the earlier trough may very well be as a lot as 40 toes (12 meters), Clark stated.
The rescue swimmer — who was on his first rescue simply after graduating from the Coast Guard’s rescue swimmer program — was lowered from the helicopter by a cable. As he neared the vessel, the person on board climbed onto the strict, getting ready to get into the water.
But simply then an enormous wave slammed the boat, throwing him into the surf. The wave struck so violently that the vessel rolled fully over and wound up floating upright.
The swimmer managed to locate the man in the surf and pulled him to safety aboard the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter. The crew brought him to Coast Guard Base Astoria, where medics treated him for mild hypothermia.
“It’s a bit of a christening for a new rescue swimmer,” Clark said.
The swimmer’s name was not immediately released, nor was that of the man who was rescued.
The mouth of the Columbia, the largest North American river that flows into the Pacific Ocean, has such notoriously rough seas that it is known as “the graveyard of the Pacific.”