Jim Abrahamson and Dolores Hutchinson of Salem returned to the beach in Lincoln City to retrieve their beached crab boat Monday, just two short days after they were rescued by North Lincoln Fire Rescuers on jet skis. Both say they wouldn’t be alive today except for the good work of rescuers Bob Schroeder and Jeff Cutler who roared out to save them.
Abrahamson and Hutchinson said they had been crabbing in their boat at the mouth of the Siletz River when the outgoing tide accelerated rapidly enough to break their anchor line. Their boat was swept seaward and into topsy-turvy waters. Abrahamson said he fired up both boat motors but they were no match for the strong currents that tossed them about and eventually capsized the boat, throwing both into the chilly waters. Abrahamson said he managed to get off a quick call to 9-1-1 which dispatched rescuers. By then both were in the water, kept afloat by their life jackets. Water temperatures were cold and the clock was ticking toward hypothermia for both.
Meanwhile, North Lincoln Fire Rescuers Dennis Knudson and Peter Robertson arrived quickly on the beach with Bob Schroeder and Jeff Cutler right behind them with jet skis in tow. They launched and raced out to two human figures bobbing in the water, far from shore. They pulled up, hauled them aboard and raced them back to an awaiting ambulance. Both were suffering hypothermia, Hutchinson far more than Abrahamson, due to her petite body size. Rescuers described her as limp and lethargic with a very low core body temperature.
Both were rushed to the hospital where they were re-warmed to a normal temperature. By Monday they felt good enough to return to Lincoln City on reports that their boat had washed up on the beach. There they found some of their belongs including their wallets and, as you can see in one photo, tickets to a Beach Boys concert coming up at Chinook Winds that Hutchinson that she said she had no hope of ever retrieving. Normally when a boat tips over, it’s all gone, but since it was the beach, and the Beach Boys, maybe some other force was at work. One can only imagine.
North Lincoln Fire and Rescue Training Officer Jim Kusz told NewsLincolnCounty.com that lessons learned from this incident should include that all boaters should be aware of the tide tables and what the high and low will be and over what period of time. He says the tables will give you an idea of the speed of the rushing waters based on the difference in sea level. Secondly, always wear life jackets. Third, carry flares or whistles so people can see and hear you. In this case, Abrahamson had a cell phone, but Kusz says, usually cell phones are the first things to go over the side or don’t work when wet. So always carry flares and whistles.