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Dramatic U.S. Coast Guard Rescue in Pacific Northwest Caught on Video

Dramatic U.S. Coast Guard Rescue in Pacific Northwest Caught on Video

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 11245
February 4, 2023

Some incredible video coming from the U.S. Coast Guard’s 13th District showing the rescue of a mariner as a wave capsizes his vessel in waters off the Pacific Northwest.

The incident took place Friday approximately 6 miles west of the mouth of the Columbia River.

Multiple units responded and saved the mariner as the disabled 35-foot Sandpiper was capsized by a breaking wave as a rescue swimmer approached the vessel.

Sector Columbia River watchstanders received an audible MAYDAY call via VHF marine-band radio channel 16 at 10 a.m. Friday with no other information provided. Using radio tower triangulation, an approximate position of the distress call origin was determined.

A Station Cape Disappointment crew aboard a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew of the Advanced Rescue Helicopter School launched from Station Cape Disappointment. Multiple crews of the National Motor Lifeboat School, who happened to be conducting training in the area, also diverted to respond.

Coast Guard crews arrived on scene at approximately 10:40 a.m. and were able to communicate with distressed mariner, who reported that the vessel was taking on water.

With 20-foot seas and extremely high windspeeds, it was clear the Sandpiper was in trouble.

The rescue swimmer, a student of the Advanced Helicopter Rescue School, was deployed to the water using a winch cable before swimming toward the vessel. As he made his approach, a breaking wave capsized the vessel and the mariner was ejected.

The swimmer proceeded to retrieve the mariner from the water and both were hoisted to the helicopter using a winch cable.

The survivor, who sustained minor injuries, was transported to awaiting emergency medical personnel at Air Station Astoria and was in stable condition when transferred from the Coast Guard’s care.

For rescue swimmer Aviation Survival Technician 3rd Class John “Branch” Walton, it was his first life saved. Hours later, he and his classmates graduated from the Advanced Rescue Helicopter School.

The rescue team

As it turns out, local authorities suspect the vessel was stolen and, to make matters weirder, the mariner is also believed to have left a dead fish at the famous “The Goonies” in Astoria, Oregon. Apparently the mariner was released before authorities learned all of this and, as of Friday evening, he had not been found. The Astoria Police Department is leading that investigation.

Bravo Zulu to everyone involved!

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