Three Men Survive Without Lifejackets After Vessel Sinks off La Push

USCG rescue
Image courtesy USCG

Published Mar 22, 2021 12:47 AM by The Maritime Executive

On Saturday, a Coast Guard rescue boat crew pulled three survivors from the water after their vessel sank five miles off the coast of La Push, Washington. 

At about 1440 hours, watchstanders at the Coast Guard's Puget Sound command center received a distress call on Channel 16 from a man who reported that his 50-foot boat was taking on water and starting to sink.

A Station Quillayute River Motor Lifeboat (MLB) crew was dispatched ten minutes later. In eight to 10-foot seas and winds of 30 miles an hour, the rescue crew began a search. At 1510 hours, they spotted three people in a floating debris field. None of the survivors were wearing lifejackets. 

The boatcrew came alongside two of the men and were able to pull them safely aboard the response boat. The third survivor was struggling to stay afloat, and in order to get him on board, one of the Coast Guard crewmembers went into the water to help him up. All three of the survivors were showing symptoms of hypothermia.

By 1535, the rescue crew arrived back at La Push and transferred the three men to emergency medical services team out of the town of Forks. The rescuees' current condition is unknown.

The vessel went down with several hundred gallons of diesel fuel onboard, and the Coast Guard is evaluating the potential for pollution from the wreck. A Dolphin rescue helicopter aircrew deployed from Port Angeles to conduct an overflight and look for sheening.