Updated on: 2/17/2020
Authorities are reporting that one person has died following a boating accident on the Columbia River on Monday night. Two people, a woman and a man, were boating near the Glenn Jackson Bridge in Oregon state. At approximately 8:15 pm, the boat was traveling at 45 miles per hour when it slammed into one of the bridge’s pylons. The boat sank after the crash.
A witness on shore called the police and helped officers locate the boat when they arrived at the scene. The current has carried the two victims down the river, complicating rescue efforts. The man and the woman were both pulled from the water by rescuers, who performed CPR on the woman.
The man is reported to have non-life-threatening injuries. The woman had severe injuries. She was taken to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver, Washington, where she passed away.
According to Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chad Gaidos, neither of the boaters was wearing a life vest. Police interviewed the man involved in the crash as part of an investigation into the cause of the accident. They are not yet sure whether drugs or alcohol were involved in the crash.
Multnomah County police released the following statement reminding boaters to stay safe:
The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office would like to remind boaters to be safe when using local waterways for recreation. Always wear a life vest, know the water conditions, the condition of your vessel, and never use alcohol when operating a boat. Being prepared and being safe is the best way to enjoy summer weather.
(Image: The Glenn L. Jackson Memorial Bridge, which was the site of Monday's fatal crash. The boat slammed into one of the bridge's pylons. Image source: The Oregonian)
How To Prevent Boating Disasters
With warm weather finally returning to the Pacific Northwest, thousands of people are taking to the water in recreational boats. Unfortunately, many people believe that boats can be treated like toys; they often operate them while drunk, drugged, unaware of their surroundings, or while they are not wearing proper safety equipment. While boats can be a lot of fun, they’re also large and potentially dangerous vehicles.
Davis Law Group has represented many victims of completely preventable boating accidents. We have seen cases involving people who were struck by a propeller while swimming near a boat, and we have helped clients who had to deal with the tragic consequences of injuries that resulted from falling off a boat. We strongly urge anyone who’s planning on boating this summer to take the following precautions.
Wear proper safety equipment and make sure your boat also contains any necessary rescue gear. Even if you’re boating on a lake that looks calm, it’s still possible to drown in placid water. In Washington state, many boaters fail to realize how cold water temperatures can hamper rescue efforts; a plunge into the cold water of the Puget Sound can quickly sap a swimmer’s strength, even on a warm and calm day. Many boaters also fail to realize that even when a river’s water doesn’t look choppy, they could be pulled under or carried away quickly by a swift current flowing under the surface. Wear a life vest when you go out on a lake or river, and make sure to keep a lifebuoy on your boat as well.
Never drive a boat while intoxicated. Yes, driving a boat under the influence is a crime in Washington state. It’s also a terrible idea even if you don’t get caught. Even experienced boaters have died because they went out on the water while they were drunk or drugged. Intoxicants can reduce your ability to make smart decisions. They also increase your reaction time, and every second counts in a dangerous situation.
Don’t overestimate your skill level. It’s easy to rent or buy just about any type of boat, but that doesn’t mean the vehicle you’re operating is safe for you to use. Navigating around the shallow edges of Lake Washington in a kayak is different than taking that kayak out on the colder, choppier waters of the Puget Sound or the open ocean. Steering a speedboat requires faster reflexes than steering a rowboat. Sailboats and larger boats with motors require a very different set of skills than driving a car, and when you’re in open water, you also need to know how to safely navigate around obstacles like rocks and larger vessels. When you want to go out on the water, choose a boat that you can handle safely, even if it’s not the largest or coolest option available.
What To Do After A Recreational Boat Crash
Many injured victims of boating accidents don’t even realize that insurance may be available to help pay for their medical expenses, time off work, and other damages. If you’ve been injured in a boat crash caused by someone else’s negligence, it’s a good idea to talk with a personal injury attorney before resigning yourself to paying your own medical bills out of pocket. Davis Law Group’s award-winning team of Washington personal injury lawyers has recovered millions of dollars for injured victims in Washington state. You can speak with our legal team at any time by using our convenient chat feature, visiting our contact form, or calling (206) 727-4000.