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Coast Guard practices cliff rescues

Observer staff report

Published on March 6, 2018 1:00PM

The cliffs at North Head provide panoramic views of the North Jetty and the mouth of the Columbia River, occasionally along with opportunity to get a closeup look at the Coast Guard’s cliff-rescue exercises.

Jane Winckler Webb photos

The cliffs at North Head provide panoramic views of the North Jetty and the mouth of the Columbia River, occasionally along with opportunity to get a closeup look at the Coast Guard’s cliff-rescue exercises.

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A Coast Guardsman dangled from a cable near the cliffs at North Head during a recent rescue exercise.

A Coast Guardsman dangled from a cable near the cliffs at North Head during a recent rescue exercise.

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A dummy is in safe hands after being removed from a dangerous spot on North Head, a situation not uncommon for real-life dummies in the busy part of the year.

A dummy is in safe hands after being removed from a dangerous spot on North Head, a situation not uncommon for real-life dummies in the busy part of the year.

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A dummy is safely returned to level ground during Coast Guard practice at Cape Disappointment State Park.

A dummy is safely returned to level ground during Coast Guard practice at Cape Disappointment State Park.

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NORTH HEAD — The U.S. Coast Guard is often called upon to rescue tourists from local cliffs in the summertime and stranded mountain climbers in the Cascades year-round.

On Feb. 15, local photographer Jane Winckler Webb documented the several hours the Coast Guard spent training at North Head Lighthouse cliffs in Cape Disappointment State Park near Ilwaco.

“Everyone made it up safe — cliff dummies and crew,” Webb said of the exercise, which involved extracting a human-sized dummy from a precarious position on the high-angle slope beneath the historic light.

Residents listen for the drone of helicopter blades from the park as a signal to go and observe the Coast Guard’s amazing rescue skills in action.







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