DEPOE BAY — It’s been said that not all heroes wear capes. Last week in the choppy waters off Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint, the heroes wore life vests.
On Friday, Oct. 2, a four-person crew from U.S. Coast Guard Station Depoe Bay in a 47-foot motor lifeboat came to the rescue of a 40-year-old man reported to be struggling in the ocean waters below Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint just south of Depoe Bay.
According to the Coast Guard, at about 11:30 a.m., a U.S. Forest Service ranger spotted the man struggling in the water after he’d fallen from the rocks. The ranger then alerted Coast Guard personnel at Station Depoe Bay, who immediately sprung into action.
The four-person Coast Guard crew ably navigated the coastline and reached the man in the water within about 10 minutes, was able to pull him to safety onboard the motor lifeboat, administered first aid, then transferred the victim to fire and rescue personnel awaiting their return to Station Depoe Bay.
Station Depoe Bay Executive Petty Officer Derek Seehagen, the officer in charge at the station Tuesday morning, told the News-Times that extensive training enabled the Coast Guard crew to execute a swift rescue.
“We’re in charge of a specific area of operation at Station Depoe Bay, and Rocky Creek State Park is within that area of operation,” he said. “Because of the very specific training we do, we know very well the area’s coves, inlets and rivers. We go out during the day and the night to check out these areas so that we can navigate safely in and around the area in events such as one like this.”
The victim reportedly suffered mild hypothermia and minor lacerations, but was spared from further injury. Seehagen said that a rescue of this nature is relatively rare for Station Depoe Bay personnel.
“Often times we’re called upon to do towing for recreational boaters and commercial fishing traffic to tow them back in after they break down,” he said.” But it’s not common that we’re dispatched for a report of someone physically floating in the water without a lifejacket. It’s a very technical rescue that needs to happen with limited hesitation.”
Seehagen said cooperation with other area first responder units is crucial to assisting similar rescues.
“We work a lot with the area local and state agencies, specifically Depoe Bay Fire (District) and North Lincoln Fire (& Rescue) and we also work heavily with the Coast Guard aviation crew in Newport,” he said. “And because of that, when things like this happen, we’re able to all work together and communicate to get things done quickly and cohesively.”
According to the Oregon State Police log, a blanket, reading glasses and a walking cane were found in the area and turned over to OSP.