Skip to comments.Coast Guard Ship's Cook Saves Drowning Girl
Posted on 11/14/2011 4:27:08 PM PST by hoagy62
ASTORIA, Ore. -- A Coast Guardsman was being honored as a hero Monday for his efforts in saving a woman from drowning in the Columbia River in September.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Leon Doniphan, a cook aboard Cutter Alert in Astoria, had just finished his shift on Sept. 10 and was heading on to the pier when he noticed some commotion on the river's edge.
It turned out, a young girl about 11- or 12-years-old, who had been swimming around the pilings under the dock, got caught in the river's current.
Moments later, it was apparent she was about to be carried under a 40-foot navigation buoy that had been retired and chained to the shore.
"The situation became grim quickly," witness Rod Hallock told the Coast Guard.
The girl managed to grab on to a small piece of metal on the buoy's edge but struggled to hold in against the churning water.
"She was yelling that she couldnt hold on, another witness, Lewis Nevel said.
The Coast Guard says Doniphan ran into the frigid waters and swam about 40 feet to reach the girl.
"The current was very strong and was trying to pull me under the buoy also," Doniphan said in a press release sent by the Coast Guard.
He managed to hoist the girl on to his shoulders and swim both of them just far enough away to not get trapped under the large buoy. But as they both began to be carried downriver by the current, Doniphan grabbed on to the chain that had tied the buoy to shore and pulled the two to shore.
(Excerpt) Read more at komonews.com ...
Petty Officer 2nd Class Leon Doniphan
a brave act!
God bless him!
Headwaters of the Columbia are some of the most treacherous in the world.
Hmmm...Swimming in the Columbia River in November?
The heroism of the cook is not negated by the foolishness of the swimmer.
I wondered about that too. What in the world is a girl doing swimming in the Columbia at this time of year?? It’s not real warm up here right now.
Still, the PO2 did the right thing.
Bravo Zulu Petty Officer Doniphan!!! Way to go.
Wow... That was my dock, too! Back in the 80’s... Alert was stationed up in Port Angeles, and Resolute was tied up there in Astoria. That dock is at the Columbia River Maritime Museum. The have the old lightship Columbia there, and the old CR bouy (pictured) is presumably the one they talk about in the story.
BTW— It’s an excellent Museum if you’re ever in the area. It’s quite worth the trip. Whatever active duty cutters are there in port are also open for tours on weekends.
No one brought that up or implied that, except you.
You bet. Swimming in the Columbia in November is suspect at best.
People swim in the river all the time... but not usually in that area right around the museum. I would guess there is more to the story that the reporter didn't catch or get into his story. Most likely she was carried downstream from somewhere else. However she got there, she's lucky to be alive.
If it weren't for people making poor decisions out on the water, the USCG would be out of a job. We're there to give people a mulligan when they screw up really bad. :-)
It happened early September. The Pacific NW had a LOUSY summer - it only got started getting nice the first week of September! (Lasted about 3 weeks too only)
It is going to be a LONG winter this year.
God bless the cook! (I think I saw that on an apron somewhere!)
And the article was published on Nov 14, 2011?
I don’t know - that’s pretty quick to be honored for his heroism. Wasn’t there some thread a few days ago where some WW I vet was just now getting his purple heart!?
Recheck the first sentence....September.
The story is posted about 40 days after the incident, and they don't know how old the victim is?