Four Coast Guardsmen returning to their Oregon port on Saturday encountered wake so heavy that it crested the boat’s bow, triggering an unrecoverable starboard list that capsized them, officials told Navy Times.
There were no injuries to the four active duty personnel; no fuel or other pollutants spilled from the Trailerable Aids to Navigation Boat; and the mishap will be investigated, Coast Guard spokesman Public Affairs Specialist 3rd Class Michael Clark said late Saturday.
The crew of 26-foot vessel had been servicing buoys and was transiting back to station when they neared Pier 39 in Astoria and encountered the heavy wake.
At 11:39 a.m., 13th Coast Guard District command center watchstanders in Seattle received four Personal Locator Beacon alerts registered to the Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team Astoria.
The positions pinged from the beacons matched multiple reports from civilian vessels streaming in from the Pier 39 area, according to a Coast Guard statement released Saturday.
About 11 minutes later, Coast Guard Sector Columbia River watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast and scrambled an Air Station Astoria MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew and a Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment 47-foot Motor Lifeboat crew to respond.
At 12:09 p.m., crew members on board the Columbia Bar River Pilot vessel Connor Foss responding to the broadcast reported to the Coast Guard that they recovered the four from the water and were transporting them to medical personnel waiting at Astoria’s 17th Street Dock.
With winds measured at 25 mph and seas up to 10 feet high, the Sea Hawk crew hoisted the passenger and transported him to medical care, Coast Guard officials said.
Taken to Columbia Memorial Hospital, they were treated and released in “healthy condition,” Clark said.
The Clatsop County Sheriff’s Marine Patrol towed the capsized vessel to the 17th Street Dock.
A damage assessment will be conducted during the official investigation, Clark added.