Newport: Man falls down between big boulders on small jetty, seaward of south jetty wall – Coast Guard to the rescue.
An out of town fishermen learned the hard way where to fish, and where not to fish while visiting the Newport jetties. The fisherman and a companion crawled out onto what is called “The Finger Jetty” just east of the south jetty’s weather station parking lot.
Reports say they got out there and one of them fell 8 to 10 feet down into a hole between two massive boulders and was injured. Newport Fire Rescue got on scene and assessed the danger of them going out with a stretcher and bringing him back to solid ground. In short, they didn’t like the looks of it. Way too dangerous. They were concerned about worsening the man’s injuries if a handler lost his footing while navigating the treacherous boulders. So they called the Coast Guard to see if they could help.
The Coast Guard pulled up with one of their smaller rescue boats but as the guardsmen inched closer-in toward a spot where they might get access to the victim they ran encountered rocks and very shallow water. So they backed off.
As a last resort the Coast Guard called a helicopter in to lift the victim straight up and out of his terrible predicament. He was deposited near an ambulance that quickly took him to PCH. His injuries were not life threatening. But witnesses said he was in a lot of pain.
It’s another clear example of what some folks call “Risky Fishin” – venturing out across small jetties that are extremely dangerous to walk on, especially if you’re not in tip top shape. The victim fell down in between two mountainous boulders which caused his body to twist violently. It took a number of firefighters just to pull him up and out of the hole. After the Coast Guard helo arrived they got him into a Coast Guard litter that was lowered down onto the jetty. Once strapped in, rescuers gave the pilot the thumbs up to raise the litter and gently drag it through the 150 feet of air to Jetty Road and an awaiting ambulance. Within a few minutes he was in the ambulance bound for PCH for an evaluation of his injuries.
Federal agencies have talked for years about possibly closing off access to the series of mini-jetties that jut out toward the main channel along the south jetty. You can see them in the first photo above. Officials say they were not built for fishing and they’re very dangerous – even just to stand on. They say no one should even try to crawl on them, much less fish from them.