Surf Rescue Near Mouth of the Salmon River
North Lincoln Fire and Rescue was dispatched Wednesday afternoon on a report of a person calling for help in the surf on a log or raft, near the breakers of the Salmon River north of Lincoln City. The Coast Guard was also notified and immediately responded with their 47 foot Motor Lifeboat that, it just so happens, was being prepared to get underway for training maneuvers.
North Lincoln Fire & Rescue and Water Rescue crews arrived on-scene and with the assistance of the reporting party on a cell phone on the bluff at Cascade Head was able to quickly locate an overturned 12 foot Zodiac about 300 yards south of the mouth of the Salmon River, in the surf, with one male occupant clinging to the small craft.
William Pratt, 29 and Marissa Littleton, 30, both from Portland, went out crabbing when a line on their craft became entangled in the prop of their motor. Pratt managed to maneuver the Zodiac to the sand spit to let Littleton off on-shore; he then drifted back out to attempt to cut the line from around the propeller. Suddenly a wave flipped the boat over, leaving Pratt adrift and Middleton with no safe means to get back to their vehicle across the river at Knight’s County Park.
Water Rescue members quickly rescued Pratt with jet skis, bringing her back to dry land. Shortly after that, Water Rescue members also brought Littleton across the river on a jet ski to awaiting Pacific West Ambulance medics for evaluation. Both where in good health and released after a brief examination.
Conditions were too rough at the mouth of the river to consider retrieving the Zodiac still afloat in the ocean. After making sure the victims were okay, Water Rescue members went back out on their jet skis and towed the Zodiac out to the Coast motorlifeboat which was waiting just beyond breakers. The motorlifeboat crew promptly towed the small craft to Depoe Bay for safekeeping.
The Coast Guard and North Lincoln Fire & Rescue often work together – the Coast Guardsmen courageously acting as Guardians for rescuers whenever their Surf Rescue Team deploys to aid those in distress.
Both the Coast guard and Surf Rescue Teams remind boaters to always wear their lifejackets, know that surf conditions can change quickly, and be aware of the limitations of any watercraft – large or small.
District Captain Jim Kusz
Public Information, Education & Safety Officer
North Lincoln Fire & Rescue