An MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Astoria safely hoisted and transported both the Ocean City man and dog to Ocean Shores Airport in good condition, where they were met by Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s deputies.
Grays Harbor county Search and Rescue personnel began searching for the 60-year-old man around 5 p.m., but were unable to locate him. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River, in Warrenton, received a request for assistance from Grays Harbor County at about 9:20 p.m., after the man’s cell phone reportedly died and he had no other means of communication.
The aircrew located the man and dog at about 11:15 p.m., after searching in concert with Grays Harbor County SAR ground crews for about two hours. Search personnel on the ground relayed the man’s last known location to the aircrew. Coast Guard personnel used night vision goggles and forward looking infrared cameras to search for the man’s heat signature in the swampy terrain.
“The hiker was using an old lighter that would not light but would spark,” said Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Leary, the rescue pilot aboard the Jayhawk. “Through night vision goggles it looked like a flashlight.”
The Coast Guard recommends all hikers and outdoor enthusiasts carry a form of communication more reliable than a cell phone when venturing into the wilderness.