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Eyewitness to a rescue

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Posted: Monday, July 9, 2012 2:55 pm

On vacation in Lincoln City from Meridian, Idaho, Barbara and Nolan Packham got more than they bargained for when they became eye-witnesses to a water rescue at Siletz Bay on Monday, July 2.

Barbara tells the story in her own words:

“We were standing watching the water when two men took off to swim to the other side. We made the comment that that is where the sharks like to go. The seals saw him and dove into the water.

One man swam down the current to the other side but one man started to yell HELP. He was in the middle by then. My husband called 911.

We were very proud of the rescuers who came forward and got to the man. It seemed like a long time. He was very smart to go with the undertow and out into the sea (had no choice) but he didn't fight it.

He kept yelling HELP. There were three men in a fishing boat who heard the call and they were the first to go out. In the pictures you can see that the second man swimming, made it over to the "island,” talking to someone in another boat. The man's buddy was going to go out and we held him back saying we didn't want two men out there to be rescued.

The tide was going out fast and the waves were coming in. The crowd kept pointing where the man was so the boat could find him. By then he was out in the heavy surf, north of the inlet.

When the fishing boat got to the man and started back it got stuck on a sand bar and the rescue "skidoo" went out and the man got out and pushed the boat off the bar and it came in. The "skidoo" was airborne at times with the waves.

After they got him into the rescue truck the truck then got stuck in deep in the soft sand. Many of the men watching got in the back of the truck, with sand flying in their faces and pushed the truck out of the sand, telling him to go on hard sand until he got going. His buddy yelled to him in the truck and he raised his hand and said something and we all cheered. There were rescue units up on the street waiting for him.

What a great group you have.

Thanks for a wonderful town. We love it.”

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