FEB. 14 - Two people died Saturday when their 18-foot boat capsized in large waves off Eureka, Calif., and the rescue crew narrowly escaped serious injury when their helicopter crashed into the surf.
Coast Guard officials found Vesta L. Baker, who was 82, and her son, 59-year-old Charles W. Baker, drowned, news reports say. Two other passengers on board the boat, called White Horse II, were not harmed and managed to swim to shore. Authorities were told by one of the passengers that the boat “just got in too close [to the breaking surf], and the waves dumped them.”
Coast Guard officials launched a search-and-rescue mission after receiving a 911 call around 1 p.m., a report says. The crew of a HH-65B Coast Guard helicopter responded. While lowering a rescue swimmer to the scene the helicopter suddenly crashed into the water. The three crewmembers on board were not injured and the rescue swimmer swam to shore. A second HH-65B helicopter was launched to complete the rescue.
The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the crash.
— Jason Fell