Man With Binoculars Spots Disabled Boat Caught in Heavy Surf

by Emily Morgan
Photo by: jovan_epn

A man with binoculars might’ve saved a boater’s life after the man saw the boat in heavy surf near the Oregon coast. According to authorities, after the man saw the distressed boater, he dialed 911 at around 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 23.

He told dispatchers he saw a “boat with one person” being “hit by large waves” while trying to cross Rogue River Bar, per the Curry County Sheriff’s Office in an Oct. 24 Facebook post. The man said the boat became disabled and began to move “south in heavy seas,” according to the Facebook post.

The sheriff’s office also said dispatchers later made contact with the United States Coast Guard. They then coordinated with other first responders to perform a rescue.

After several police officers arrived at the beach “just south of the South Jetty,” they saw a disabled boat. They could also tell just one person was on it. They also determined the boat was about “300 feet offshore in the breaking surf line and drifting quickly south.”

Aquatic marine safety officer Luke Martinez joined the rescue as a Curry County Search and Rescue member. He then attempted to swim to the boater.

Distressed boater rescued after eagle-eyed bystander spots him struggling in the water

At first, Martnez attempted to “swim with his rescue board out through the south side of the mouth of the Rogue River. However, he kept getting pushed back in due to the bar breaking all the way across.”

When this didn’t work out properly, the sheriff’s office said that Martinez “went south of the jetty.” Other rescuers watched the boat to relay its location to Martinez. Then, finally, he was able to paddle through the heavy swell and headed toward the vessel.

Before that, the boat’s captain, 52-year-old Michael Malouf, had jumped into the dangerous water as his disabled boat began to take on water. Once in the water large swells swirled around him.

“Martinez was able to reach Malouf in the breaking surf, get him on the rescue board and swim him to the beach about a half mile south of the South Jetty near the Fairgrounds Event Center,” the sheriff’s office said.

In addition, bystanders who watched the rescue “tied the boat off to a beached log” after it washed ashore nearby the rescue team.

Once rescued, first responders examined Malouf. They determined he had hypothermia and they took him to a hospital, the Facebook post said. Later, he was treated and released “a little while later” from the hospital with no severe injuries.

“The quick response by SAR Member and Aquatic Safety Officer, Luke Martinez undoubtedly saved the life of Michael Malouf, who was wearing a life preserver during the incident,” the sheriff’s office said after the incident.