MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — In a viral video provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, members of the Coast Guard are seen jumping into the rushing waters of the Columbia River in Oregon, rescuing a man from a boat. In the video, one big wave causes the boat to completely flip over.
Members of the Coast Guard Training Center in Mobile went to Oregon for their helicopter training Friday morning. WKRG News 5 spoke with two of the pilots who were flying the helicopter. They say the weather conditions were not safe enough to hold their training.
As the water came rushing, they received a “mayday” call to help someone who was stuck on a boat in the middle of the river.
“While we were out determining whether or not we could train that day, within our training limits, we heard a mayday call over the radio,” said Mobile-native Lieutenant Commander Tripp Haas. “And then that’s when the Coast Guard took action. And this whole case kicked off. So that was not part of training. We stopped our training and shifted to an actual search and rescue mission.”
“We kind of switched gears and went into Search and Rescue mode,” said Lieutenant Commander Will Sirokman. “And we picked up our rescue swimmer, and we headed out to try to find the vessel in distress.”
Commander Haas says he was not expecting that one big wave to flip the boat over.
“I would say nothing to this point would have made me think that I was going to see what we would ultimately unfolded,” said Haas. “We did not expect the boat to roll in that wave to break the way in which it did.”
After a long journey fighting the heavy waters in Oregon, the Coast Guard Members would eventually rescue the man on the boat. Both pilots say they it was all a team effort.
“There were so many different teams working in this one scenario,” said Haas. “We had our air crew team and the helicopter. We had three boats on scene. We had command centers, triangulating positions so everybody together achieve the outcome. It’s not just one person or one team within that group.”
However, the boat the man was rescued from turned out to be stolen, and the man on it would have warrants out for his arrest.
The Astoria Police Department in Oregon have identified Jericho Labonte, 35, and say he’s wanted for crimes in the United States and in Canada.
Labonte is wanted in Victoria, British Columbia for criminal harassments and failure to comply.
Somehow, Labonte has made his way to Oregon, and he’s accused of committing more crimes even before the boat incident.
In Oregon, he’s wanted for theft, endangering a person, and criminal mischief. The Astoria Police Department also accuse Labonte of putting a dead fish on the front porch of the famous Goonies movie house.