1 dies after inflatable raft overturns in Pacific off Cape Disappointment
John Beaumeir, 55, of Woodinville, was pronounced dead after being plucked from the frigid water after the raft capsized. His friend, 28-year-old Israel Anderson, of Seattle, survived.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The sun was shining and the ocean off Cape Disappointment State Park looked calm Saturday afternoon when two Seattle-area men decided to go for a paddle in an inflatable raft.
But the outing quickly went bad as the raft capsized in water that was much rougher than it had seemed from the beach, said Pacific County Sheriff Scott Johnson.
Only one of the men, both nurses at Harborview Medical Center, made it back to shore alive.
John Beaumeir, 55, of Woodinville, was pronounced dead after being plucked from the frigid water. His friend, 28-year-old Israel Anderson, of Seattle, survived.
For Johnson, the incident was a replay of similar tragedies over the years, as people unfamiliar with Southwest Washington's treacherous waters misjudge the risk. "We have so many people go into the water because it doesn't look as dangerous as it is," Johnson said. "It just scares me to death when I see people out there."
Beaumeir and Anderson launched their raft into the surf off Benson Beach, on the Pacific Ocean side of Cape Disappointment. The cape also borders the Columbia River. The craft, which was not very sturdy, soon capsized. Both men were able to scramble back onboard, Johnson said, but then the craft overturned again — and again.
Anderson managed to hang onto a paddle and the partially deflated raft. He made it safely back to the beach. Beaumeir got separated from the raft in the choppy water.
"The victim did not have anything to hold onto," Johnson said.
Neither man was wearing a life vest — though they had them at their campsite back on shore.
The water is so cold that a person without protective gear would lose consciousness after about 15 minutes, Johnson said. He estimated Beaumeir was in the water 30 to 45 minutes.
Onlookers called 911, and volunteers from the Pacific County Surf Rescue Team quickly mobilized two Sea-Doo watercraft. Both of the craft towed floating backboards, used for water rescues. The team brought Beaumeir back to the beach and administered CPR. He was taken by ambulance to Ocean Beach Hospital in Ilwaco.
Sandi Doughton: 206-464-2491 or email@example.com