A Coast Guard aircrew aboard an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Facility Newport rescued three surfers in distress near Devil’s Punchbowl State Park, Saturday afternoon.
All three men were safely transported to Air Facility Newport, checked by local EMS and released in good condition.
“The weather this year has been very intense and this location has been especially treacherous with dangerous rip currents,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Dominguez, the rescue swimmer who pulled all three men out of the surf. “People need to be aware of the dangers when they’re in or near the water. “
Lincoln County 911 dispatchers contacted watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector North Bend at around 1:40 p.m. notifying them that a person on the beach reported a surfer unable to make it to shore. The aircrew, in an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter, was already flying and diverted to the scene.
“There was one man who was in trouble, and while we were on scene two others tried to help and exhausted themselves,” said Lt. Matthew Poore, co-pilot of the Dolphin helicopter. “We picked up two near the rocks, brought them to the Air Facility and did a hot refuel. When we got back to the scene, the third man was near the rocks and couldn’t get himself to safety so we hoisted him and brought him to EMS as well.”
Since January the Coast Guard has responded to cases involving six persons in the water at Devil’s Punchbowl and six persons in water, two of which lost their lives, at Cape Kiwanda. All beachgoers should follow posted signs and if entering the water, have proper safety equipment including wetsuits, drysuits, life jackets and personal locator beacons.
A gale warning is in effect along the Oregon Coast with winds gusting to 45 knots and waves building to 20 feet. Beachgoers and mariners are advised to use extreme caution on or around the water.