The Clatsop County Sons of Beaches 4x4 club is used to getting called out to the shore to help pull things out of the water. But on Wednesday, the group of all-terrain enthusiasts got a surprise: a semi truck was stranded in the ocean, and the driver needed their help to pull the truck out.
Ben Doney, a member of the club, said the driver had driven his semi-truck cab onto Sunset Beach and been surprised by a quickly rising tide.
“Apparently he had driven it out to get a couple pictures of the truck on the beach,” Doney said. Though there are warning signs along the beach, Doney said, vehicles can drive on that portion.
“There’s no sign that says not to bring a semi onto the beach,” he said.
With the tide coming in, the 4x4 club quickly hooked two winch lines to the truck and used a Jeep and a super-duty truck to pull the semi to safety.
Doney said the driver stayed inside the cab to steer and help them get the semi out.
Getting the truck out of the water quickly was crucial not only for the driver’s safety, Doney said, but also to keep contaminants, such as fuel, from getting into the water.
Though a 20,000-pound vehicle was new territory for the 4x4 club, members often help rescue stranded vehicles from the beach. Doney said the club does a lot of recreational activities, but some of the members comprise the “shore patrol,” and have gone through training similar to tow truck drivers.
“None of the tow trucks go out onto the sand, because they’re not equipped for it,” Doney said. “So that’s when law enforcement will call us.”
The group is all-volunteer and doesn’t charge for rescues, Doney said.