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Columbia Bar pilots rescue four after Coast Guard boat capsizes

Jan 6, 2020 10:49 AM

The vessel Connor Foss responds after the ATON boat takes heavy wakes over the bow

The following is text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(ASTORIA, Ore.) — A 26-foot Coast Guard trailerable aids to navigation (ATON) boat capsized Saturday with four crewmembers aboard near Pier 39 in Astoria.

Four Coast Guardsmen were aboard the vessel conducting routine operations when the capsizing occurred. The vessel reportedly encountered a series of heavy wakes that came over the bow, which resulted in an unrecoverable starboard list that capsized the vessel.

At 11:39 a.m., watch standers at the 13th Coast Guard District command center in Seattle received four personal locator beacon alerts registered to Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team Astoria.

The beacons' positions correlated with multiple good Samaritans' reports of visual distress signals in the vicinity of Pier 39 in Astoria. Correlating reports were also received by Astoria 911 dispatch.

At approximately 11:50 a.m., watch standers at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River issued an urgent marine information broadcast (UMIB) and directed a Coast Guard Air Station Astoria MH-60 Jayhawk crew and a Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment 47-foot motor lifeboat crew to respond.

At 12:09 p.m., crewmembers aboard the Columbia River Bar Pilots vessel Connor Foss contacted the Coast Guard reporting they had recovered the four Coast Guardsmen from the water after responding to the UMIB and were en route to awaiting medical personnel at the 17th Street pier.

A Clatsop County Sheriff marine unit assisted in the recovery by towing the capsized vessel to the 17th Street pier.

All crewmembers involved are reported to be in healthy condition after being evaluated at Columbia Memorial Hospital. 

The Coast Guard is overseeing salvage operations and has initiated the mishap board review process.

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