U.S. Coast Guard crews from Air Station Astoria helped search for survivors of a rafting accident in south-central Washington Saturday and Sunday.
Four rafts carrying 19 people capsized Saturday afternoon in an isolated section of the Klickitat River east of Glenwood, Wash.
When the local U.S. Coast Guard launched an HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter that evening, four people had been found, one of them dead, said Mark Dobney, civilian search and rescue controller at U.S. Coast Guard Group Astoria.
The helicopter located a couple rafts of survivors in trouble and directed rescue teams to help them, he said, but one person remained unaccounted for when search teams returned home that night.
Around 6 a.m. Sunday, the Astoria air station launched another helicopter, which located the missing man and helped get swift-water-rescue teams to him, although he died, Dobney said.
Earlier in the weekend, the Coast Guard sent a helicopter to a possible distress case in the Pacific Ocean. A white distress strobe light was spotted around 1 a.m. Saturday in the ocean about 10 to 15 miles southwest of the Columbia River. However, it turned out to be a false alarm - a boat was using the strobe instead of regular running lights. Dobney said although the skipper was in violation of boat navigation rules, he was not cited: "He corrected it. That's what we're really interested in."
Later that morning, the Coast Guard helped an 18-foot pleasure craft disabled in Washington's Cathlamet Bay. A 25-foot response boat from Station Cape Disappointment towed the vessel, which didn't have any communications equipment on board, Dobney said. With no radio and no cell phones, those on board were lucky they were able to flag down a passing boater, he said.