Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Man saved by fast Coast Guard action

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USCG RESCUE-VICTIM EMERGES.2
It took a 47-foot rescue vessel just seven minutes from launching to reach the middle-aged male victim, identified only as James, bobbing helplessly in the 60-degree water. (Photo by Rick Beasley)

The fast actions of a heroic U.S. Coast Guard motor lifeboat crew were credited Friday for the rescue of a man who fell into the ocean at Rocky Creek State Park, two miles south of Depoe Bay.

USCG Depoe Bay
Members of the USCG motor lifeboat crew that saved a man struggling in the ocean at deadly Rocky Creek State Park Oct. 2 included BM2 Chris Henry, Chief Kenny Compton, BM3 Benjamin Evans and MK3 Joshua Decampos. (Photo by Rick Beasley)

An alert state parks ranger called U.S. Coast Guard Station Depoe Bay at about 11:30 a.m. to report the man had been swept away from the rocks and was struggling for his life. It took a 47-foot rescue vessel just seven minutes from launching to reach the middle-aged male victim, identified only as James, bobbing helplessly in the 60-degree water.

“We were obviously full throttle,” remarked the surf station’s commander, Chief Ryan Clendenen. “The crew made visual contact, maneuvered the boat in and threw the victim a lifeline. We were able to pull him in.”

In a stroke of fortune, Clendenen speculated that the victim was trapped in a kelp bed that kept him from being swept further away or bashed against the rocks by waves. Brought safely aboard for treatment, the man was reported to be “cold and lethargic” but otherwise uninjured. The senior chief said people begin to die from hypothermia after about an hour in waters of 50 to 60 degrees.

depoe bay man in ocean
The victim was reported to be “cold and lethargic” but otherwise uninjured. The senior chief said people begin to die from hypothermia after about an hour in waters of 50 to 60 degrees. (Photo by Rick Beasley)

Grins were broad among the four-man U.S. Coast Guard rescue crew as paramedics from Depoe Bay Fire Department and Pacific West Ambulance met them at dockside.

“When you get something like this with a good outcome there’s nothing but smiles,” said Clendenen. “It’s easy to be proud of a crew like this.”

depoe bay coast guard rescue
Grins were broad among the four-man U.S. Coast Guard rescue crew as paramedics from Depoe Bay Fire Department and Pacific West Ambulance met them at dockside. (Photo by Rick Beasley)

Members of the USCG motor lifeboat crew were BM2 Chris Henry, Chief Kenny Compton, BM3 Benjamin Evans and MK3 Joshua Decampos. Their commander said most of the 30 personnel at the USCG surf station sought duty in Depoe Bay because of the fast pace.

“They joined to save lives, and that’s why they came here,” asserted Clendenen, who took over the station four months ago. “It’s got quite an active caseload, and many of the calls are actual distress.”

Rocky Creek State Park has a notorious reputation among first responders, its enticing lava headlands claiming a vacationing couple and a movie producer in the last five years.

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Rick Beasley
Rick Beasley
Rick Beasley is a simple writer who collects sniper rifles for a hobby.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. What a terrific outcome to this terrible accident. Thank you to our amazing Coast Guard for their heroic act in saving this man’s life. Their fast action was the key!!

  2. We are all glad of the outcome.
    When I read or hear on the news about these things, I think back to when I
    was younger and we would go to some potentially dangerous cliffs, hang out, and do
    what young persons do, drink, and the like, none of us ever fell in the ocean.
    There is a point at which gravity takes over and you’re done. From what I’ve
    gleaned from articles about rescue, cameras should come with a warning
    label about the possibility of death from snapping a pic. Whatever caused this
    near tragedy, I hope this person doesn’t go for a second dip.

  3. We were traveling from North Carolina and stopped to search for whales when we spotted him in the water. At first we thought maybe he was a diver but after viewing him through the binoculars it was obvious that he was in distress. We were able to flag down a ranger who called for help. So glad he is safe!

  4. Vacationing with The Congden’s from NC, when we saw him “swimming” near the rocks we started waving. Upon seeing his glasses and blanket on the rocks we knew he was in danger. The water was cold. He treaded water but wouldn’t wave to us. I knew this could be a sign of distress. We were just about to call 911 when we saw the ranger pull in. Our friend ran to the ranger and alerted him to a swimmer in the water. We were so scared for him and are so thankful that the ranger got in touch with the Coast Guard quickly. Thankful to know he is ok.

  5. We were on our way back home and stopped to get ocean pictures. Then the fire truck arrived and I saw the coast guard boat coming around the corner. I watched as they helped this gentleman out of the water. They have all been on my mind. Thank goodness for the efforts of everyone. Thank you for your service. The young couple were there at the right time, a blessing on you. I hope the gentleman is doing ok, I wondered about the hypothermia.

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