Three rescues kept first responders on their toes this past weekend. A pair of distressed surfers needed help at Cape Kiwanda, a woman fell 100 feet at Neahkahnie Mountain, and two stranded tourists were rescued in Ecola State Park.
At around 8:32 a.m. on Saturday, May 18, Tillamook 911 received a report of two surfers were in distress on the ocean at Cape Kiwanda. Deputies from Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO), Nestucca Fire Protection District crews, and an ambulance from Adventist Health Tillamook responded to the beach at Cape Kiwanda.
According to TCSO, One surfer was reportedly caught in a rip current and another, more experienced surfer went out to assist him. Both surfers were stuck in the rip current about 600 yards off shore.
Water Rescue Teams from North Lincoln Fire and Rescue and Netarts-Oceanside Fire District responded to the scene. A Coast Guard helicopter from sector Columbia River in Astoria was launched as well as a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat from Coast Guard Station Tillamook Bay in Garibaldi.
The strong current took the surfers around Cape Kiwanda and just off McPhillips beach when the Coast Guard helicopter arrived on scene, deploying a rescue swimmer to assist the two surfers. The Water Rescue Team from North Lincoln Fire and Rescue went into the water and recovered the two surfers and their surfboards.
They were brought to shore on McPhillips beach where they were evaluated by emergency responders. Neither surfer was injured nor hypothermic. Both surfers were wearing wetsuits which prevented them from becoming hypothermic in the cold ocean water. The two 27-year-old men from Portland were rescued more than a mile from where they went into the water.
TCSO said it would like to remind people about the dangers of recreating in the ocean water. Ocean water temperature and rip currents are significant hazards at all times of the year. In this case, both individuals were properly equipped with thick wet suits which helped to prevent the onset of hypothermia.
The second rescue took place at around 10:16 a.m. on Sunday, May 19. Tillamook 911 received a report of someone slipping and falling at one of the viewpoint areas along Highway 101, around MP 41. Deputies from the Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office, Nehalem Fire and Rescue and an ambulance from Adventist Health responded.
According to TCSO, responding personnel learned from the victim’s boyfriend that his 22-year-old girlfriend from Corvallis slipped and fell while taking pictures over the retaining wall, tumbling down around 100 feet and landing in a tree that prevented her from continuing into the ocean. She reportedly sustained serious injuries during the fall.
The 22-year-old woman was found unconscious but breathing. Assistance was requested from Cannon Beach for a rope rescue, and a High Angle Rescue Team was dispatched, arriving at approximately 10:51 a.m. A Life Flight helicopter was also requested and landed at another viewpoint at approximately 10:45 a.m.
At around noon, the woman was loaded into the helicopter then transported to Emanuel Hospital in Portland with life-threatening injuries. Assistance was provided by State Parks and the Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office Chaplains.
Sunday saw the third rescue of the weekend as well. The Coast Guard rescued two tourists who were stranded by a high tide on the south side of Indian Beach within Ecola State Park.
According to a report from the Coast Guard, an aircrew aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Sector Columbia River hoisted a woman and her boyfriend and transported them to emergency medical services at the Ecola State Park parking area where no injuries were reported.
Coast Guard watchstanders at the Sector Columbia River Command Center reportedly received a call from Seaside dispatch at 11:57 a.m. on May 19, who reported the distress situation. The aircrew immediately launched and the aircrew arrived on scene at 12:32 p.m.
The aircrew conducted the first hoist of the female who was being hit by waves at 12:43 p.m. The next hoist occurred at 1:03 p.m., helping the boyfriend who climbed up some rocks to attempt a rescue but became stranded himself.
Both individuals, who were identified only as foreign nationals, were transferred to emergency medical services at 1:16 p.m., checked out and released.