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Motorist plunges into Columbia River at Pier 39

The woman swam away from the vehicle and was apparently not injured
By Hannah Sievert

The Daily Astorian

Published on July 19, 2018 2:12PM

Last changed on July 20, 2018 10:18AM

A section of railing is missing at Pier 39 in Astoria after a car crashed through it and plunged into the water Thursday afternoon.

Colin Murphey/The Daily Astorian

A section of railing is missing at Pier 39 in Astoria after a car crashed through it and plunged into the water Thursday afternoon.

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A Coast Guard helicopter lifts off after lowering a diver into the water near Pier 39 to search the scene of a crash.

Colin Murphey/The Daily Astorian

A Coast Guard helicopter lifts off after lowering a diver into the water near Pier 39 to search the scene of a crash.

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Divers searched the waters near Pier 39 after a vehicle drove off the bridge.

Colin Murphey/The Daily Astorian

Divers searched the waters near Pier 39 after a vehicle drove off the bridge.

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Rescuers patrol after a vehicle plunged into the Columbia River.

Jeff Keightley/For The Daily Astorian

Rescuers patrol after a vehicle plunged into the Columbia River.


A Portland woman intentionally drove off a wooden bridge and plunged into the Columbia River at Pier 39 in Astoria on Thursday afternoon.

The 23-year-old woman was able to swim away from the vehicle and get out of the water after the crash, which occurred after 1 p.m.

“Both witness statements and conversations with the woman indicate that she intentionally drove off of the pier and was suffering from apparent mental health issues,” police said in a statement.

The woman, whose name was not released, was taken to Columbia Memorial Hospital in Astoria as a precaution and for a mental health evaluation, police said.

People in a car behind the woman said they saw her drive into the railing, back up and drive into it again before breaking through and going over the edge.

Witnesses heard the woman say, “I’m alright,” while she was in the water. Someone from the dock ran over and threw the woman a life preserver.

“It was bizarre,” said Cindy Howenstein, who was visiting from Fairview Heights, Illinois. “It was real weird. Like, what just happened?”

A Coast Guard contractor removed the vehicle from the river. The bridge, which connects to the restaurants and businesses at the end of the pier, was taped off where the railing was damaged but is open to vehicle and foot traffic.







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