Coastguard swims into submerged yacht wrecked by huge wave to save man's life
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Featured Image Credit: US Coast Guard Pacific North West
Terrifying footage shows a coastguard swimming over to a submerged yacht that had been wrecked by a huge wave, having amazingly managed to save a man’s life with his bravery. But the story doesn't end there, it only gets wilder.
The video was posted on social media by US Coast Guard Pacific North West (USCG PNW), which said the boat had been at the mouth of the Columbia River near Astoria, Oregon when it was hit by a large wave.
Thankfully, the aircrews had been conducting training nearby, so were able to respond quickly after receiving the mayday broadcast.
However, as they got closer, the choppy waters proved to be a huge problem, as they meant rescue by boat wasn’t an option.
Instead, one of the crew members had to swim over to the sinking boat through the surf to rescue the vessel’s owner.
“Talk about arriving in the nick of time!” USCG PNW said on Twitter.
“While conducting a training mission at the mouth of the Columbia River, 2 Coast Guard air crews received a #MAYDAY broadcast from the master of the P/C Sandpiper.
“After notifying watchstanders at Sector Columbia River, who launched motor life boats from STA Cape Disappointment, the air crews arrived on scene to find the vessel floundering in the surf! The surf made rescue by boat dangerous, so the aircrew decided to lower the rescue swimmer and have the owner enter the water for rescue.”
The post continued: “As he entered the water the vessel capsized but the rescue swimmer was able to safely recover the individual. He was flown back to Coast Guard Base Astoria where EMS was waiting to evaluate and treat the man.
“All in all, it’s just another day for the Coast Guard men and women who spend their days #ProtectingThePNW.”
The rescue was completed by 22-year-old Third Class Petty Officer John Branch-Walton – and was his first mission after completing a summer programme.
But the story gets wilder still, as it turns out the man who was rescued was Jericho Labonte, a 35-year-old that police had been looking for.
He didn’t actually own the yacht he was saved from, and was arrested without incident at the Seaside Warming Center, police said.
Officers had been looking for Labonte since Wednesday, after police were alerted to a video he posted on social media that allegedly showed him leaving a dead fish at the Astoria home featured in 1985 film The Goonies, before dancing around the property.
Astoria Police Chief Stacy Kelly said Labonte, of Victoria, British Columbia, is also wanted in British Columbia on criminal harassment, mischief and failure to comply cases from last year.
The yacht's owner, who lives in Warrenton, Oregon, had reported the vessel stolen on Friday, police said.