Officials rescue boy taken out by rip current at Rockaway Beach

Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 11:34 AM PDT
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ROCKAWAY BEACH, Ore. (KPTV) - A 12-year-old boy is safe and recovering after nearly losing his life along the Oregon coast.

Rescue crews say the boy was swept out to sea by a rip current. This happened near the southern end of Rockaway Beach about 3:30 Sunday afternoon. Fire Chief Todd Hesse says when he arrived on scene he could see the boy clinging to his boogie board about 400 feet off shore. The boy was initially moving but then stopped.

The Coast Guard, local fire crews, and the Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office rushed to the scene but before they could get to the boy, a local fishing boat was able to maneuver in for the rescue.

Craig Izzi says when he first saw the boy in the water he feared the worst because the boy wasn’t moving. But the men in the fishing boat successfully pulled the boy out of the water. Aside from being scared and likely hypothermic, Izzi says the boy appeared to be okay.

Rockaway Beach Fire Chief Todd Hesse says the boy had only been in the water 10-15 minutes before he got in trouble. Hesse says the water along the Oregon coast is often in the 50 degree range and in that temperature, a person can get into a hypothermic state in a very short period of time. When that happens, people lose their ability to control their body so it’s easy to drown or be pulled out to sea by the current.

Fortunately the boy in this case was able to cling to his boogie board and that kept him afloat. Rescuers say the boy was visiting Oregon from Arkansas and will go home with a healthy appreciation for the power of the ocean and dangers of coastal currents.

The Rockaway Beach Fire Chief credits the men from Izzi’s Big Mouth Guide Service with saving the boy’s life.