COOS BAY, Ore. -- Search and rescue teams are still running on an adrenaline rush after saving three fishermen after a boat capsized on Tuesday.
Officials from the United States Coast Guard said they were out patrolling when they saw the 38-foot fishing vessel capsize at the entrance of Coos Bay.
They said it was struggling to float due to the strong currents. Then, they saw a 14-foot wave hit the boat, which made it sink into the water.
“All of a sudden, we didn’t see the bright fishing light, the halogens on the vessel,” said Connor Regan, a helicopter co-pilot for the Coast Guard. “We completely lost them.”
The Hauser Fire Department led the search with the help of the Coast Guard, North Bend Fire Department, Bay Cities Ambulance, the Coos County Sheriff’s Office and the Oregon State Police.
Captain Lawrence Van Hoof with Hauser Fire said they started the search in recovery mode, meaning they were looking to bring the boat to shore with no survivors on it.
He said the search lasted 3.5 hours when they found the boat upside down on the rocks of the north jetty.
“We made contact. We could get the verbal commands out of them, but then they started kicking the boat from the inside,” said Van Hoof.
Van Hoof said they cut a hole into the side of the boat and pulled the men out within minutes. He said he’s grateful for the help of all emergency responders who helped because the men wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for their team work.