At approximately 10:00 am on Friday, April 7, Gresham Fire and Emergency Services dispatched its Water Rescue 75 to assist Corbett Fire on a significant water rescue event to rescue a capsized boat with four passengers, three men and one woman, in the Columbia River near Multnomah Falls.
Initially, Water Rescue 75 determined the waters were too rough for its boat to attempt safe rescue, but changed course quickly when the fishing boat carrying the passengers completely submerged, forcing the four people into the frigid water.
With time and distance an immediate factor (the closest resources 40 miles away), Water Rescue 75 entered the water at 10:34 am to rescue the four, who were wearing lifejackets, in the freezing water. The rescue team reached the people by 10:49 am, and pulled them aboard while providing life-saving CPR and hypothermia care.
“If it wasn’t for the help of Gresham Fire and their rescue boat, this incident would have turned out much worse,” said Chief David Flood, Corbett Fire.
Two men and the woman were transported by ground to Mount Hood Medical Center with hypothermia. One man taken to Emanuel by Life Flight in life threatening condition.
Water Rescue 75 is stationed at the Troutdale Fire Station, and is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by Swift Water Rescue Technicians and Rescue Boat Operators. Responsible for water operations on the Columbia and Sandy rivers, they operate a 20’ jet powered rescue boat along with a complete compliment of swift water rescue tools.