Pilot Lost off Columbia River Bar

Wednesday, January 11, 2006
The Coast Guard is searching for a Columbia River bar pilot who fell from a container ship near Astoria, Ore., Monday evening. The pilot fell overboard, while climbing down the ladder from the 558-foot merchant vessel Dry Beam to a Columbia River pilot vessel. The Coast Guard launched two 47-foot motor lifeboats from Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment, Wash., and an HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Astoria, shortly after receiving the report Monday night. The 47-foot motor lifeboats searched for an hour before returning to the station due to severe weather conditions. The Jayhawk searched for the man until 12:30 a.m., before they too had to return due to heavy rain and fog that limited visibility to less than 100 feet. Two HH-60 Jayhawk helicopters from Air Station Astoria and an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Port Angeles, Wash., searched for the man this morning. A Columbia River bar helicopter and two pilot vessels are also assisting in the search. Coast Guardsman from Station Cape Disappointment and local authorities are conducting shoreline searches north and south of the entrance of the Columbia River.

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