WARRENTON, Ore. — Coast Guard crews aided a 67-year-old mariner after his yacht collided with an unknown object and sank 9 miles off Leadbetter Point State Park, Washington, Friday, July 28th.
An MH-60 Jaywhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Astoria hoisted the mariner from his yacht tender and safely transported him to the station where he was checked by emergency medical service personnel.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River were contacted over VHF channel 16 at 10:17 p.m. by the mariner, who advised he had struck an unknown object and his 45-foot pleasure yacht Sea Crest was taking on water. He reported that during the collision he hit his head and may have lost consciousness, but was not sure for how long, and water was coming into the deck scuppers.
As the sole person aboard, the mariner abandoned ship into his 17-foot yacht tender with a life jacket, survival suit and flares. Shortly after he notified the watchstanders of this, he reportedly lost sight of the lights of the Sea Crest and heard sounds that indicated the vessel might have sunk.
The aircrew was on scene with the yacht tender at 11:06 p.m. and while preparing for the hoist, the sighted small items in the water. After they finished the hoist at 11:35 p.m., they marked the yacht tender with a strobe light as the onboard lights had been extinguished. They landed at the air station at 11:56 p.m., and after the mariner was checked by EMS, he refused any further medical treatment.
A 47-Foot Motor Life Boat crew, from Coast Guard Station Grays Harbor in Westport, Washington, also responded. They arrived on scene at 12:04 a.m., located the yacht tender and towed it back to their station.
Saturday morning, a second Jayhawk helicopter crew from the air station conducted an overflight where they located the sunken vessel and spotted two sheens on the water. The crew marked the location with a self-locating datum marker buoy and sector watchstanders issued an safety marine information broadcast to alert mariners of the potential navigation hazard.
The mariner reported that he was underway conducting vessel check for a new navigation system and was in auto-pilot at the time of the collision.