A Car in the Bay and a Very Odd Man Occasion Pointless Midnight Rescue Effort

Hank Sims / Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012 @ 9:47 a.m. / Emergencies

From Humboldt Bay Fire:

Humboldt Bay Fire responded to a reported water rescue at the boat ramp under the Samoa Bridge on 10-10-12 at 00:19 A.M . Upon arrival a submerged vehicle was discovered about 50 feet from shore. Initial reports indicated that the vehicle had been occupied when it entered the water.

Humboldt Bay Fire swimmers were deployed in to the water to attempt a rescue of any occupants. Due to the submersion of the vehicle, darkness and murky water, fire swimmers were not able to determine if there were any occupants still in the vehicle. Humboldt Bay Fire swimmers are surface-based rescuers and do not have dive capabilities. Swimmers secured the vehicle to shore to prevent it from drifting with the tide change and two tow trucks were requested to the scene to assist in moving the vehicle to a position which would allow the swimmers to gain access and rescue any victims. Pacific Towing provided the tow trucks.

The U.S. Coast Guard and Humboldt Bay Port Authority also responded to provide rescue capabilities for personnel and victims in the water. During the incident, Eureka Police Officers were notified that a male subject possibly associated with the vehicle was located at the Adorni Center Amphitheater. Additional information was obtained that there was possibly a second occupant still in the vehicle. The male subject contacted by Eureka Police Officers was determined to be associated with the vehicle but was uncooperative and would not provide confirmation of the number of occupants of the vehicle or their whereabouts.

Humboldt Bay Fire continued with rescue operations for over an hour until a physician who had contact with on scene ambulance personnel advised that a successful rescuscitation of a victim submerged for that length of time was extremely unlikely. Due to the high risk to the rescue personnel, Humboldt Bay Fire swimmers continued with their operations, facilitating relocation of the vehicle to shallow water which allowed for entry in to the vehicle and confirmation of no victims. During the operations, personnel were rotated to prevent hypothermia. One Humboldt Bay Fire swimmer experienced minor cold water exposure symptoms and was immediately removed and treated at the scene with no complications.

After the incident, the male subject contacted by Eureka Police began to cooperate and advised that he had been the only person in the vehicle. He was transported to a local mental facility for evaluation.

The Arcata Fire Protection District responded to Eureka to provide coverage to the rest of the Humboldt Bay Fire response area. Humboldt Bay Fire commends cooperation of allied agencies and the quick response of the U.S. Coast Guard and Humboldt Bay Port Authority boats to provide support to the operation.

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