Coos Bay man rescued from ocean after boat overturns near Brookings

Two members of the U.S. Coast Guard work to rescue a man from the cabin of an overturned U.S. Army Corps of Engineers survey vessel resting on the beach in Brookings, Ore., April 25, 2018. (Photo: U.S. Coast Guard/Station Chetco River)

An Army Corps of Engineer employee was rescued from the Pacific Ocean after the boat he was in capsized not far from shore in Brookings on Wednesday morning.

Two men were aboard the 26-foot USACE survey vessel when it overturned just after 11 a.m. near the entrance to the Chetco River. One of the men was able to swim ashore, but the other man was trapped in the cabin for almost an hour. He survived underneath the boat by breathing from an air pocket.

Two U.S. Coast Guard boats responded to the scene as well as a person operating a Port of Brookings-owned tractor. It took two tries, but a Coast Guard beach crew dressed in dry suites was able to walk a line from the tractor to the boat. The tractor was able to pull the boat about 30 feet closer to shore so rescuers could get to it. During the first attempt, the line broke. Rescuers used a thicker line the second time.

At one point during the rescue, many bystanders assisted in the effort by pulling on a line attached to the boat to try and pull it closer to shore.

Cheers erupted when rescuers pulled the man free from the cabin and began pulling him to shore.

The two men reunited with a hug. They are both from Coos Bay. Their names have not been released.

The Coast Guard said the conditions at time included two- to four-foot seas with four-foot breaks.

An investigation is underway as to what caused the boat to capsize.

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