COOS BAY, Ore. – A Coos Bay man witnessed the moment firefighters freed three fishermen trapped in an upside-down, capsized boat along the Oregon coast.
“We saw moving inside. We saw arms moving,” said Robert Gensorek, owner of ‘Basin Tackle’ in Charleston, Oregon.
Firefighters cut open the hull of an upside-down commercial fishing boat on Tuesday night. Volunteer firefighters with the Hauser and North Bay Fire Departments discovered the capsized boat on the North Jetty at Coos Bay.
The miraculous rescue was live-streamed on Facebook by Gensorek.
“They heard pounding from inside the vessel, they heard muffled voices through that hull and, at that point, call to action. Everything changed, everyone focused on that point,” he said.
The North Bay Fire District says the men were stuck inside the 38-foot boat for about three hours, alert but hypothermic.
After cutting open the hull, the agency says it found the crew trapped inside the engine room. The men were struggling to breathe, as water would come in and out of the room for about an hour.
“It was the most amazing rescue. It was the most amazing maritime rescue that I think the West Coast has probably ever seen and I don’t say that with any hyperbole, it was amazing,” said Gensorek.
The three men were said to be cold but otherwise okay.
Multiple agencies responded to the capsized boat including the U.S. Coast Guard, North Bay and Hauser Fire, and the Coos County Sheriff’s Office.