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Coast Guard Rescues Two Off Overturned Boat near S. Oregon Coast's Nesika Beach

Published 06/09/23 at 8:01 p.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Coast Guard Rescues Two Off Overturned Boat near S. Oregon Coast's Nesika Beach

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(Gold Beach, Oregon) - The waters off the southern Oregon coast's Nesika Beach were the scene of a dramatic rescue late Wednesday night, as the U.S. Coast Guard discovered two men clinging to life on the underside of an overturned vessel. They had been there a total eight, long hours and had signs of hypothermia.(Photo detail from US Coast Guard)

The U.S. Coast Guard station in Astoria received notification at 7:30 p.m. from the wife of a commercial fisherman, reporting her husband had not returned to a south Oregon coast marina at the time he'd indicated.

Within a short time, watchstanders launched a rescue crew from the station at Chetco River, aboard a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat. Accompanying it was an aircrew in a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from the Air Station North Bend. Talking to local police, they also learned the truck and trailer from the fishing crew still remained at the boat ramp.

According to the wife, a friend had talked with the captain around 3 p.m. via cellphone. While this was the last contact anyone had made with the two, U.S. Coast Guard investigators were able to use records of that signal to narrow down a possible search area along these south Oregon coast waters.

Full-size photo of the rescue, courtesy US Coast Guard

It took a few hours, but around 11 p.m. the helicopter crew found the two men off Nesika Beach. The 26-foot commercial fishing vessel was overturned, and they had been sitting on top of it for eight hours. Also concerning was the fact they were not wearing life jackets.

The Coast Guard helicopter instructed the lifeboat crew on the coordinates, and by 11:30 p.m. they arrived to rescue the two without incident.

Showing signs of hypothermia from those hours in the elements, they were given blankets and water. The Coast Guard vessel arrived in dock at Brookings at 2 a.m., where the two men were seen by medical personnel. They were soon released.

Lt. Michael Jeffko, Command Duty Officer for Sector Columbia River, said this incident illustrated the need for creating a “float plan” and making it clear to others on land when you expect to return.

“This case highlights the importance of creating a ‘float plan,’ or simply just telling a friend or family member who is staying back where you are going and when to expect you back,” said Jeffko. “With the excellent search planning and coordination between our watchstanders in the command center and the rescue crews at Station Chetco River and Air Station North Bend, we had a successful outcome. Our crews train for these incidents and their flawless execution resulted in two lives saved.”

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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