PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — One person is still missing after a boating accident threw two people overboard Sunday afternoon on the Columbia River. After hours of searching, rescue crews suspended their recovery mission around 7 p.m.
Authorities were called out to Marine Drive near 33rd Avenue for a water rescue around 2 p.m. A Portland Fire and Rescue official said they received reports that a boat had been speeding on the water when it flipped and ejected the two people who were on board. The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office later clarified that the driver of the boat had taken a sharp turn, which caused the boat to rock and throw the two men overboard.
The driver of the boat was rescued by another boater and taken to shore. The passenger has not been found.
A witness said the person steering the boat had been driving erratically in the moments leading up to the incident.
“Noticed this guy in the boat was driving erratically, up and down, up and down—way too far close in to the beach, so we all started getting a little concerned about it,” described Ray Grant. “The next thing we knew, he went and picked up a man off the beach who was fully clothed. He got in the boat with him and he started flippin’ around and they flipped out of the boat—both of them flipped out of the boat.”
Grant said the boat came onto the shore after the two people were thrown from it.
“I was able to disable it and turn it off,” said Grant. “Ultimately, they were not wearing life jackets and reckless driving.”
The sheriff’s office confirmed that the missing man was not wearing a life jacket. A PF&R crew and a team from the sheriff’s office were working on a recovery operation Sunday afternoon into the evening.
In a Sunday evening update, the sheriff’s office reported that crews were unable to find the missing boater. Authorities said the search had been called off, however, marine deputies would continue to patrol the area.
The sheriff’s office said that the boat operator was cooperating with the investigation. “Impairment is not believed to be a factor in the crash,” said the sheriff’s office in an update via Twitter.
On Monday evening, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office identified the missing boater as 45-year-old Michael Trinh, a Portland resident. In their update, the sheriff’s office said he remains missing.