Outdoors

Boating over "the bar?" Harrowing account of a Columbia River tragedy

A U.S. Coast Guard 47-foot surf rescue boat challenges the Columbia River bar in conditions much like those June 20, when a fishing boat capsized, killing one man. Five others were rescued. (U.S. Coast Guard)
A U.S. Coast Guard 47-foot surf rescue boat challenges the Columbia River bar in conditions much like those June 20, when a fishing boat capsized, killing one man. Five others were rescued. (U.S. Coast Guard)

FISHING — “Even as a retired cop, Lonn Sweeney didn't expect to save anyone's life June 20 when he piloted his 24-foot Duckworth ocean hardtop, Teresa D, over the Columbia River bar, but he was certainly prepared for it,” writes Oregon outdoor scribe Bill Monroe in a story of tragedy and lessons learned.

  • The story is a must-read for anyone planning to pilot a a fishing boat over the infamous rough water caused by the surge of the Columbia River meeting the tides of the Pacific Ocean.

“And at least some of the five survivors from a capsizing on the world's trademark-for-treachery ocean crossing owe their lives to his caution – a lesson learned on the cusp of a predicted stellar coastwide ocean salmon season and record run past Buoy 10,” Monroe reported.

Lt. Scott McGrew, commanding officer of the U.S. Coast Guard station at Cape Disappointment, said the accident is under investigation. He credited Sweeney and his crew with saving lives before his 47-footers could get to the scene.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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