COOS BAY, Ore. — A local fire department rescued three fishermen from inside a capsized fishing vessel near Coos Bay on Tuesday night, the Coast Guard said.
The fishermen were cold but otherwise unharmed.
A routine training flight spotted the boat Tuesday evening and reported it to the Sector North Bend Command Center, officials said. The Coast Guard said the fishing vessel that capsized was a 38-foot Pacific Miner. The vessel reportedly also had 300 crabs on board.
Air and boat crews from the Coast Guard and were sent to find the three men on board.
The rescue operation was livestreamed on The Basin Tackle Company’s Facebook page. The owner, Robert Gensorek, who witnessed the rescue, said the three fishermen were inside the boat for more than an hour.
“They were in there for about an hour and a half in diesel and fumes, hanging onto the engine block for warmth,” he said. “They were running out of air, I assume. They were running out of warmth and they were running out life.”
While rescue crews searched for the men, some rescuers heard screaming from the wrecked ship, according to the North Bay Fire District, which assisted in the rescue.
Rescuers made their way to the ship and started to cut through the capsized boat to reach the men. Jerry Wharton, the fire chief for the Hauser Rural Fire Department, said it took the crews 20 minutes, working in 37-degree water, to get the men out of the boat.
Gensorek said he couldn’t believe all three men survived.
“They rescued three men that, by all rights, should not be alive right now. Everybody got out alive. All the rescuers, all the fishermen walked away. This doesn’t happen, this never happens,” he said.
Gensorek said the rescue operation was incomparable.
“It was the most amazing maritime rescue I think the West Coast has ever seen and I don’t say that with any hyperbole. It was amazing,” he said.