Thursday afternoon update from Oregon State Police:
Oregon State Police (OSP), with the assistance of the Lincoln County Medical Examiner, is conducting the death investigation into Wednesday evening’s drowning incident in the ocean off a Lincoln City-area beach. The victim is KERRY EUGENE BAMFORD, age 56, from Pasco, Washington, and was visiting the Oregon coast and staying at a local motel with a friend.
Information from OSP and North Lincoln Fire & Rescue District #1 indicates on Wednesday evening at approximately 8:40 p.m., local emergency responders were dispatched to a water rescue call along the beach in the 3800 block of SW Highway 101 in Lincoln City. Upon arrival, North Lincoln Fire & Rescue deployed two jet skis into the water and located an unresponsive adult male at approximately 9:01 p.m. about 200 yards from shore. Rescuers brought the man back to shore and began CPR before he was transported by Pacific West Ambulance to Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.
Additional information gathered during the investigation indicates BAMFORD, age 56, was body surfing with a friend. BAMFORD was spotted by his friend about a hundred yards from shore trying to swim back to the beach when his friend lost sight of him. The friend notified onlookers on the beach who called 9-1-1, initiating the emergency response and water rescue.
As mentioned above, by the time they found him two football fields length off the beach, Bamford was unconscious and unresponsive.
Fire rescue officials say loud and often that the ocean is not a good swimming hole. Rip currents can come up and snatch even the most fit swimmers and haul them offshore, wear them out and drown them. Swimming in the cold Oregon ocean without a wetsuit means you cannot remain in the water for more than a few minutes before the fatiguing effects of hypothermia sets in; you get weak, groggy and numb. Consciousness fades and so do you.
And if you mix alcohol with a swim in the surf, hypothermia can tighten its grip even faster. Alcohol causes blood vessels to move toward the skin surface so as to oxidize the alcohol more efficiently. So if your blood supply is moving out to where your skin is already cold, your blood temperature drops even faster and hypothermia is accelerated.
North Lincoln Fire Rescue is racing to the Ester Lee Motel area off SW 38th on a report of a man missing in the surf. A woman said she can no longer see the man. She said he was not wearing a wet suit.
Reports say the woman is standing on some rocks off the beach and cannot see the man anymore.
9-1-1 Dispatch has requested more surf rescue personnel come to the scene to assist in the attempted rescue of the man.
Rescue personnel on scene asking about the availability of a Coast Guard helicopter joining the search.
Rescuers reportedly found him and brought him onto the beach. Witnesses say he was loaded aboard an ambulance which headed north on Highway 101 toward North Lincoln Hospital, lights and sirens blaring.
It was reported that a mortuary vehicle was enroute to the hospital.