Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Couple perishes despite Coast Guard rescue efforts near Depoe Bay

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A U.S. Coast Guard aircrew recovered the deceased body of a Lake Oswego man and his unresponsive female companion from the waters outside Rocky Creek State Park near Depoe Bay late Sunday afternoon. The woman died en route to the hospital, Oregon State Police confirmed Monday morning.

Investigators said Miaochan Chen, 49, and Wenjun Zhu, 41, reportedly married, were visiting the Oregon Coast from Lake Oswego with their 10-year-old daughter. The family was picnicking off Otter Crest Loop when the group took a trail down to rocks overlooking the ocean. A wave washed over the rocks and swept Chen and Zhu into the sea. Their daughter was unharmed.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station North Bend spotted and hoisted the unresponsive Chinese couple from the water and transported them to Emergency Medical Service Technicians waiting on shore, where the male was confirmed dead.

Coast Guard Sector North Bend Command Center watch-standers received a request for assistance from 9-1-1 dispatch at 5:31 p.m. regarding two people reportedly swept out to sea by a rogue wave while foraging for mussels.

Coast Guard Station Depoe Bay launched a 47-foot motor life boat and Air Station North Bend launched a helicopter that arrived on scene at 5:57 p.m, Oregon State Police (OSP) said.

A life flight request to the hospital landing zone was canceled and the woman was transported by emergency vehicle to Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital.

Chen, Zhu, and their daughter immigrated to the United States from China in July, the OSP report said. Family members were notified with the help of the Chinese Consulate. The Department of Human Services-Lincoln County responded and placed the deceased parents’ daughter into a local foster home and will work with the families for her further placement.

The U.S. Coast Guard, Depoe Bay Fire and Rescue, Lincoln County District Attorney and Medical Examiner’s Office, Department of Human Services, and Lake Oswego Police Department assisted OSP in the investigation.

The Coast Guard reminds all beachgoers, residents and visitors to the Pacific Northwest coast to always be aware of the dangerous conditions that exist on the coastline regions. Being aware of tidal changes and wave patterns can help you avoid these types of tragic situations.

Facebook correspondence relayed and confirmed Sunday to Homepage by Erich Knudsen of Information Station (information-station.news), a classified directory both online and in print based in Waldport:

5:34 p.m. – surf rescue at Rocky creek state park in otter rock. Person swept off the rocks.

5:44 p.m. active rescue. One in the water, coast guard requested

5:48 p.m. – coast guard helo 10 minutes out

5:57 p.m – coast guard onscene, attempting a rescue

6:06 p.m. – two people confirmed in the water, requesting second medic unit

6:35 p.m. – life flight requested for PCH landing zone.

6:44 p.m. – life flight cancelled.

From Information Station’s Facebook post:

Cindy Renner: Were there any survivors?
Information Station: Unfortunately one was lost. We aren’t sure about the second.
Information Station: Let me clarify… Both were pulled from the water. The last one went code 3 to PCH
Justin Werner & Jim Fossumhttps://lincolncityhomepage.com
This article was written and edited to comply with Associated Press style and professional journalism standards by Homepage's publisher and executive editor.

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