Monday morning April 18 around 9:30am Brian Huber of Depoe Bay was in his drift boat crabbing near the mouth of the Salmon River when he heard faint screams for help from the cliff and rocks beyond the mouth of the river. Elaine Harskjold, 45 of Lincoln City had made it to the rocks bruised and exhausted after the small aluminum boat her and 67 year old neighbor James Earl Thompson also of Lincoln City, had been capsized by a wave.
Huber who spoke earlier with Thompson and Harskjold at the boat launch introduced himself and briefly spoke with the pair before setting off on the river. Huber told North Lincoln personnel that he wasn’t even sure it was a person yelling until he heard Harskjold call out “Brian help!”. Huber called 9-1-1 and at 9:37 am, crews from North Lincoln Fire and Rescue responded to the call of a small boat that capsized in the surf at the mouth of the Salmon River west of Cascade Head Ranch.
North Lincoln Fire & Rescue’s water rescue team launched two PWC’s (Personal Watercraft) Kawasaki “Jet-ski” with two surf rescue members on each and were directed by North Lincoln firefighters on the cliff to the location of a victim floating in 6 to 8 foot surf. The Water Rescue team quickly retrieved the first victim, Thompson and delivered him to awaiting paramedics at Knights Park boat ramp. Thompson was transported to North Lincoln Samaritan Hospital by Pacific West Ambulance where he was pronounced deceased upon arrival.
Harskjold who had made her way to the rocks at the base of a cliff north of the mouth and could not be recovered by the Surf Rescue Team from the water. United States Coast Guard helicopter from Newport arrived on scene a few minutes later and hoisted the Harskjold from the rocks and flew her directly to North Lincoln Samaritan Hospital where she was found to have scratches and bruises, but did not suffer serious injury. She was released from released from the hospital later that day.
Information provided by Capt. Jim Kusz NLFR