TOKELAND, Wash. – One man died and a Coast Guard helicopter rescued two other men Wednesday from a boat that overturned near Ledbetter Point at the entrance to Willapa Bay.
The US Coast Guard reports Sector Columbia River, based in Astoria, Ore., received a report on Tuesday evening from a family member stating the boaters were overdue and typically return around 9 p.m. The boaters departed Tokeland, Wash., without a float plan but were reported to be fishing with a maximum off-shore range of 14 miles.
The Coast Guard launched two 47-foot motor lifeboat crews from Station Cape Disappointment, located in Ilwaco, Wash., and Station Grays Harbor, Wash. An MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter crew from Astoria also deployed in the search effort. In addition, both stations provided beach search parties.
At 7:15 a.m., the Jayhawk crew located and hoisted the two boaters and transferred them to EMS in Tokeland. A third member did not survive the accident.
The Jayhawk crew returned to the vessel to recover the deceased member who was transferred to awaiting EMS in Tokeland. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is working to recover the vessel.
“This incident serves to emphasize the critical need to be prepared for disaster to strike unexpectedly at any time, and give oneself the best chance of survival by wearing PFDs at all times, filing float plans, and carry EPIRBs, which will send a distress signal to the Coast Guard after a vessel capsizes,” said Capt. Bruce Jones, Coast Guard Sector Columbia River Commander.