NEWPORT — Assisting the Newport Fire Department, a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew hoisted an injured woman from Yaquina Bay’s north jetty Monday afternoon.
Fire department personnel were the first on scene, stabilizing the injured 43-year-old woman, then requesting assistance from the Coast Guard to transport her off the jetty.
Newport Fire Chief Rob Murphy said when they arrived, “I could see her moving. She was trying to work her way back in. The waves were breaking over the jetty pretty regularly.”
“Evacuating her posed a certain risk for the ground responders,” said USCG Lieutenant Ryan Brown, “so the helicopter was used.”
Murphy noted that the USCG MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Sector North Bend first circled the jetty, assessing the situation to be sure that there was only one victim.
The victim, who reportedly broke her ankle, was taken by helicopter to Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital in Newport.
“Jetties are not meant for people to walk on,” said Murphy. “They’re designed to create a safe channel for boats. There are huge boulders out there, boulders the size of cars. They’re treacherous.”
Murphy noted there are gates before entering both the north and south jetty, as well as “Do Not Enter” signs.
“People ignore the signs all the time,” Murphy said. “That’s what frustrates me.” He added that when people find themselves in danger and require help, “we, and the Coast Guard, have to put ourselves at risk.”
Monday’s dramatic rescue occurred during a King Tide, which are the highest tides of the year, and just a couple of hours after the morning’s high tide.
Murphy urged people to be aware of the power of the ocean. Know the tides, he said. Obey warning signs.
The Coast Guard advised visitors to the Oregon coast this Thanksgiving week to “be aware of the dangers that lurk near the ocean, including jetties. All are advised to exercise increased vigilance due to the expected arrival of a large storm that could be carrying hurricane-force winds.”