Thursday, July 10, 2008

Heros & Villains


N WIND 15 TO 20 KT WITH GUSTS TO 25 KT THROUGH THE EVENING. WIND WAVES 5 FT. NW SWELL 4 FT AT 7 SECONDS... BUILDING TO 7 FT AT 7 SECONDS.
A 14 year-old surfer, Cole Ortega, was seriously injured after being struck by an incoming dory during heavy, rising surf this past Sunday. The boy's arm was severed by boat's the propeller just above the elbow as it struck and passed over him. Others surfers in the water recovered his arm and assisted him to shore where he was quickly treated and evacuated by emergency and medical teams. Cole's arm was reattached at Portland's Emanuel Hospital and the prognosis is hopeful, but guarded, that he will recover some use of the limb.
Immediate responses have run the gamut; with allegations of dangerous negligence on the part of the dory operator, insinuations that surfers have no business surfing at Cape Kiwanda in the first place and the calls for restricting access to certain use groups.
Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail and something positive will occur as a result of this tragic incident. An aid fund, managed by local surfers and dory men, has been established to assist the Ortega family through this crisis.
If you are interested in making a donation please mail checks to:
The Cole Ortega Recovery Fund
P.O. Box 423
Pacific City, OR 97135

3 comments:

Gazelle said...

I have heard that the operator appeared to feel awful after he got the beach. But the images of him and his boating partner immediately after the impact are disturbing. See:
http://www.katu.com/news/24056914.html

What is their excuse for that reaction? There really can be no excuse. Their reaction says simply "if you get hit it's your problem" and people with such an attitude are dangerous. The operator should at the very least be denied the privilege of operating a motorized boat.

Like you, I hope something positive occurs as a result of this tragedy. Thanks for the recovery fund info.

Doc said...

I wasn't there but my impression is that the dorymen were responding to being shouted at by the surfers...understandable on both sides...especially since I don't believe the dorymen realized someone was hurt.
I don't think the dorymen ran over Cole and were then gesturing in a "You got what you deserved" way...they were coming in in big surf (some witnesses said they were going too fast) and they came over the top of a wave which Cole Ortega and other surfers were below...
Some accounts put the number of surfers at 50 to 60 in the general area where the dorys launch and land...
I'm not saying whether or not the operator was negligent...that's for someone else to decide, but the gestures (arms out to the side) can be read in any way you want...they were already past the accident zone and well towards shore...once they realized the seriousness of the situation, who wouldn't feel terrible?
As sad as I am for Cole and his injury...a part of me goes out to the doryman, what was to be a day of fishing (something I happen to enjoy myself) turned into a disaster.

Gilberto said...

Hopefully cooler heads will prevail. Just like driving a car, riding a bike, riding a skateboard, or crossing the friggin' street. Everyone needs to be aware of the dangers, and use common sense.
Can't we all just get along? It's a big free ocean, that belongs to all of us.