Thursday, January 18, 2018

Fishermen jump for their lives to avoid speeding boat on collision course

Three fishermen had only one way out when a speeding Bayliner on a collision course approached them. Photo: YouTube 

Three salmon fishermen avoided death or serious injury by jumping into the frigid waters of the Columbia River after failing to get the attention of the driver of a speeding boat that was headed their way at high speed.

The frantic moments were caught on a GoPro camera mounted at the front the boat, as reported by The Oregonian.

Hermiston police officer Bryan Maess, seen in the video waving his arms and yelling at the driver of the oncoming Bayliner Trophy motorboat, fellow officer Christopher McMahon and Roni Durham only had one option as the boat zeroed in on them:

The incident occurred over the summer, but the video was just posted online Tuesday, coinciding with the news that Maess had filed a $372,500 lawsuit against the driver of the offending boat--Marlin Lee Larsen. McMahon and Durham plan to also file suit.

Clatsop County sheriff’s deputies accused boat driver Marlin Lee Larsen of several crimes after the 75-year-old told investigators he couldn’t see where he was driving because he was sitting down and the dash of his boat was blocking his view. Larsen said he probably should have been standing, according to the sheriff’s report, which notes Larsen uses a motorized scooter to get around on land. 
Larsen’s son-in-law, who also was on the boat, told investigators that he had warned his father-in-law to pay attention, that he sometimes sees his father-in-law using his cell phone while driving the boat and that his father-in-law had been off-and-on his cell phone the morning of the crash, according to the sheriff’s report. 
The lawsuit, filed earlier this month, claims Larsen was boating while distracted by his cell phone on the morning of the Aug. 12, 2017, when the crash occurred near the mouth of the Columbia at the Pacific Ocean, just east of Fort Stevens State Park. 
Sheriff’s investigators wrote that it was likely Maess and the others would have been seriously injured or killed if they hadn’t jumped into the water.
As it was, the suit says Maess suffered vision problems, headaches and injuries to his ankle, leg and arm from jumping into the water or being struck by debris, and he still wears a knee brace to this day.

The others suffered unspecified injuries including cuts and hypothermia. Durham also suffered psychological trauma.

The Oregonian said that Larsen pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor crimes or reckless operation of a boat, fourth-degree assault and recklessly endangering the lives of others.

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