NEWPORT, Ore. — The U.S. Coast Guard released video of the dramatic rescue of a group of stranded fishermen off the coast of Newport. Their boat sank early Tuesday morning.
The Coast Guard pulled three people to safety, and decided to call off the search for the fourth victim.
It all started as a distress signal from the fishing boat, Sound Leader. The Coast Guard launched a helicopter and lifeboats, swooping two fishermen out of the ocean by helicopter, and another rescued by a life boat. A fourth fisherman is now presumed dead.
Guardsmen said the three men treaded the 58-degree water for around three hours.
“You need to get them out as soon as possible because they can become exhausted, loose consciousness and drown,” said Petty Officer First Class Adam Johnson with the U.S. Coast Guard.
Crew members told guardsmen their life raft got dragged down with the boat and that the missing man could not swim.
“Probable life expectancy in the water at that time, at the absolute outside edge, submerged in water with no protective clothing is six hours, and we had searched already for over eight hours so they decided to suspend the search,” Johnson said.
Along the docks, other fishermen said the past few days have been hard on them all. The tight knit community remembered the life of a fellow fisherman lost at sea.
“It is sad because every fisherman has family, mothers, sisters and brothers and children and not to be able to come home to your family, and he was just learning how to fish,” said Kay Captain Pat Locke.
“You’ve lost a life and there’s a family out there that no longer has a family member, that’s a sad day, and you can feel it around the harbor,” said Refuge Captain Jerry Biddinger.
Although the Coast Guard hasn’t released any names yet, many already know who was on board and said the missing fisherman will be greatly missed.
“Happy-go-lucky attitude, always happy, never negative about anything really, just a positive guy,” said fisherman Nick Dixon.
Any fishermen wanting to freshen up on their safety skills can take a free emergency safety course offered by the Coast Guard. It trains fishermen exactly what to do in all types of emergencies out on the water.