SEATTLE - One of two men pulled from the waters near Cape Elizabeth, Wash., by the Coast Guard died at the Aberdeen General Hospital in Aberdeen, Wash. Tuesday.
Coast Guard units in Port Angeles, Wash., and Astoria, Ore., received a mayday from the 31-foot fishing vessel, Renee Marie, at 7:20 p.m. Tuesday. An HH-60 helicopter crew from Air Station Astoria was immediately launched along with a 47-foot motor lifeboat crew from Station Quillayute River, Wash. Using directions provided by the Coast Guard's Rescue 21 system, the helicopter crew was able to fly directly to the scene of the overturned vessel where they found Westin Fowler of Port Orchard, Wash., tangled in crab fishing gear.
"The Rescue 21 system got us within yards of the vessel," said Lt. Robert Potter, a Coast Guard pilot who responded to the scene.
A rescue swimmer was lowered to retrieve Fowler and Coast Guard personnel administered CPR to him until they reached medical personnel on shore. Fowler was taken to Aberdeen General Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
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Two Coast Guard HH-60 helicopter crews from Air Station Astoria, Ore., two 47-foot motor lifeboat crews from Stations Quillayute River and Grays Harbor, Wash., and two commercial fishing vessels searched the waters eight miles west of Cape Elizabeth for the second man, Jeremy Brown of Port Orchard, who was found in a liferaft at 11:20 p.m. after a helicopter crew spotted a flare. The 47-foot motor lifeboat crew from Quillayute River rescued Brown and transported to him Grays Harbor where it was determined he was well enough to return home.
"Mr. Brown's presence of mind helped a great deal to increase his chances of survival," said Potter. "He managed to stay focused enough to get the raft inflated and those flares shot off. The third flare he fired perfectly illuminated the raft he was in, and all our resources headed straight for him."
Potter also praised the commercial fishermen who aided in the search when they heard the mayday transmission.
The Renee Marie is homeported in Chinook, Wash.
In the audio clip released by the Coast Guard, a mayday call-out from two fishermen who fell from an overturned fishing vessel near Cape Elizabeth, Wash., Tuesday, April, 14, 2009, is heard. Using directions provided by the Coast Guard's Rescue 21 system, the helicopter crew was able to fly directly to the scene of the overturned vessel and rescue one unconscious man from the water. (U.S. Coast Guard audio)