A boat sank in Blind Slough – part of the Columbia River in Oregon – last week, claiming the life of one of the passengers.
According to regional news source The Daily Asotrian, 45-year-old Lonnie Emken and 60-year-old Emery Neale swam to shore and called 911 at around 6 a.m. on March 15 after their vessel capsized in the Columbia River in Oregon. They told Clatsop County Dispatch that 58-year-old Conrad Weirup, who had been onboard the watercraft with them, was missing.
Petty Officer Timothy Spencer said that the 14-foot skiff "was overloaded, so the bow basically sunk into the river." He and his colleagues contacted the U.S. Coast Guard at approximately 6:45 a.m. for assistance and the two groups used a Jawhawk helicopter, a 45-foot motor lifeboat and a jet boat in their efforts to locate Weirup.
It wasn't until 7:20 p.m. that they found the man's body near the Brownsmead area. Law enforcement officials are still investigating the incident, reports the source.
None of the men onboard the vessel had on life jackets when it capsized, prompting the local Sheriff's Office to remind people about how important it is to have a floatation device ready for each passenger. Though children 12-year-old and younger are required by law to wear life jackets in Oregon, it is highly recommended that everyone on a watercraft use one since tragedy can strike at any time.
This incident is another reminder that a quiet day on the river can turn dangerous in a matter of seconds, which is why it is important for boat owners to take proper precautions such as wearing life jackets and investing in marine insurance to ensure that they are covered in the case of an unfortunate accident.