Depoe Bay Fire Rescue was called to the Otter Rock surfing area Sunday afternoon on a report of two pre-teen children being swept out on a rip current. Both had small boogie boards which kept them afloat.
A Depoe Bay Fire Rescue official said after 9-1-1 was called one of the children managed to get back onto the beach. Their father at that point jumped into the water and swam out toward the remaining child. By then the child had managed to crawl up onto a rock. At that point Depoe Bay Fire Rescue arrived with their remote controlled “rescue raft” called EMILY. They launched Emily and it went speeding straight out to the remaining child and the father. Both grabbed the raft and fire rescue personnel on the beach pulled on the tethered line attached to Emily and soon had both safely back up on the beach.
It was the first official surf rescue for the device which rescue personnel had been training on since they got Emily last year. In fact it was the first-ever rescue by an EMILY device, anywhere. Depoe Bay Fire Chief Josh Williams says EMILY can be deployed very quickly from shore, powered by an electric impeller similar to those used in jet skis. He says EMILY can move through the water 12 times faster than a human and has a battery pack that can last up to 20 minutes. Williams says “We are pleased that this recent addition to our arsenal of life saving tools has proven its worth.”