GOLD BEACH – Authorities will continue their search this morning (March 10) for two unidentified people who fell into the ocean after their small fishing boat possibly lost power and capsized near the mouth of the Rogue River just before dark Friday.
“I don’t have a lot of information,” Curry County Sheriff John Bishop said late Friday after the initial search was called off for the night. “We were told there were two men on the boat. They may have been from Port Orford.”
Sheriff’s dispatch received a call of a capsized boat and people in the water just after 5 p.m. Sheriff’s deputies and Gold Beach police officers searched the water around the mouth of the Rogue River and the beach to the north and south.
A witness told authorities he had seen the boat going around the jetty, about 200 feet out, when it encountered trouble and was capsized by large breakers.
There were reports of a man hanging on to the side of the boat at one point, and another report of a second person inside the overturned boat, which had become pinned by waves against the rocks on the north side of the north jetty.
The Sheriff’s marine patrol boat had difficulty getting past large breakers at the mouth of the river and was turned back, Bishop said. “It was just too dangerous.”
A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter was dispatched from Coos Bay and a motor lifeboat from Brookings and arrived shortly after 6 p.m., but it was getting too dark to search, he said.
“Right now, we’re sort of looking at it as a body recovery. We’re not sure yet,” Bishop said.