Uncle dies after boat capsizes near Haystack Rock

Oregon Coast

A teen passenger called for help

A Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office deputy near Haystack Rock where a small boat capsized, July 15, 2020. (Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A day of crabbing and fishing near Haystack Rock ended tragically after a small boat capsized, sending one man into the ocean.

The 12-foot rigid inflatable boat capsized at about 10:45 a.m. near the entrance to Nestucca Bay, the Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office and Coast Guard said. There were two people inside the boat at the time: a 19-year-old man from Portland and his 73-year-old uncle from West Linn.

The teen called 911, telling officials he was on top of the overturned boat but that his uncle was still in the water, 30 feet from the boat, and was unresponsive and drifting farther away.

Less than 30 minutes later, a Coast Guard team in a helicopter found the older man and pulled him out of the water. He was rushed to medical help but did not survive, deputies said.

The teen swam to a nearby sandbar where the Coast Guard helicopter picked him up. He was unhurt. The boat was also recovered.

Officials think the uncle may have had some kind of medical incident which caused him to jerk the rudder while steering the boat, causing the craft to capsize in the surf. Both men had been wearing life jackets but the uncle was said to be unresponsive from the moment he entered the water.

The man’s name has not been released.

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