CAPE DISAPPOINTMENT — Passengers and crew of the Ilwaco charter boat Pacific Dream came to the rescue early Monday morning after a man and two teenagers were thrown in the cold water of the Pacific when their small pleasure craft, the Aggi K, sank off Cape Disappointment.
At 7:16 a.m., watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River received a report from the Aggi K that their vessel was taking on water and their dewatering pumps could not keep up. Communications were lost shortly after, according to a Coast Guard press release.
Watchstanders issued a urgent marine information broadcast. The crew of the Pacific Dream responded. Aboard the vessel was Coast River Business Journal reporter/photographer Luke Whittaker, who was researching a story on the ocean salmon season.
Whittaker said Pacific Salmon Charters Skipper Brian Cable immediately began searching the area. Glare made it difficult to see anything on the surface of the water, but as they neared the area of the sinking, passengers and crew could hear frantic calls for help. They were soon able to hone in on the shouts and retrieved all three people, who were all wearing life jackets, out of the water.
Whittaker said the trio exhibited signs of being cold and shaken by their experience. Seawater in the area was around 60 degrees at the time. The three were an adult man, his nephew and his nephew’s friend. They declined to identify themselves.
The Aggi K had mostly sunk by the time the charter crew made it on scene. The charter crew transferred the three people to a 47-foot Motor Life Boat crew from Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment, who transported them back to station for medical evaluation by emergency medical service personnel. An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from sector searched the area for the vessel, but did not see it or any signs of pollution.
In perhaps the biggest surprise of the whole incident, the three said they planned to go fishing again on July 4 — this time aboard a Pacific Salmon Charters boat.
The Coast Guard used Mondays sinking and other incidents to urge the public to exercise safety on and around the water as we head into the Fourth of July holiday.
Besides the sinking, on a Monday evening press release the Coast Guard said that in the hours leading up to the 4th its personnel had responded to a disabled pleasure craft with five people aboard a mile south of Nehalem Bay and a kayaker clinging to his kayak 100 yards off the Tillamook coast.
At 8:52 a.m., sector watchstanders received notification over VHF channel 16 of a disabled 27-foot pleasure craft half a mile off Nedonna Beach with five people aboard. Watchstanders maintained a communication schedule with the mariners as a 47-Foot MLB crew from Coast Guard Station Tillamook launched in response. The boat crew placed the pleasure craft in a stern tow and safely towed them to the Garibaldi Marina.
At 11:41 a.m. sector watchstanders received a relay from 911 dispatchers of a person in the water, clinging to his kayak, north of the Cape Meares Lighthouse. The reporting source was the kayakers wife, who advised that he was knocked off of his kayak about an hour before the distress call was made and might be hypothermic.
A 47-foot MLB crew from station Tillamook and a Jayhawk helicopter crew from sector launched in response.
A friend of the kayaker responded as well on a second kayak, but was unable to assist once he arrived. Local agency personnel also responded, with shore-side units and two personal watercraft launched out of Netarts.
The 47-foot MLB crew arrived and retrieved the kayaker from the water, as well as brought is friend aboard. A 29-Foot Response-Boat Small II crew from station arrived on scene and gathered both kayaks. The MLB crew moored back at station and transferred the two kayakers to waiting EMS personnel.