A couple beachcombing near Paradise Point in Port Orford, Oregon saw a small recreational fishing boat caught between large ocean swells and crashing surf on Sunday, January 25. Suddenly the 24′ boat flipped over, dumping the three passengers into the water. Michael Fowler, 38, and Ariana Hall, 19, who was wearing a life vest, struggled through the surf to get to shore. The third passenger, Albert Self, 37, yelled for help in the ocean surf. All three lived in Port Orford, Oregon.
The beachcombing couple, Jim and Medette Hayman, immediately called 911 at 1:45 pm and rushed to help Fowler and Hall to safety. Other beachcombers also ran to assist. No one could reach Self before he disappeared in the water. It is believed he was not wearing a life vest.
The Coast Guard responded as well as members of the Coos County Sheriff’s Office and other local law enforcement. Crews searched for Self for nine hours, covering more than 169 miles without finding him.
Deputies reportedly searched along the beach using all-terrain vehicles with no sightings on Monday morning, January 26. People in the area pulled the boat out of the water using construction equipment.
“Our thoughts go out to the families and loved ones affected by this misfortune,” said Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Alfredo Rivera, the command center supervisor at Sector North Bend. “Calling off a search is one of the hardest decisions search and rescue personnel have to make.”