Crew of Shaver Transportation Tug CASCADES in Columbia River Rescue

June 17th 2015

Crewmembers of the Shaver Transportation Tug CASCADES rescued two men they found clinging to the hull of a capsized sailboat on May 4 in the waters of the Wallula Gap, an area of the Columbia River known for high winds and heavy seas. Participating in the rescue were Jeremy Brock, Dennis Montgomery, Luke Olson, Eric Strand and Blake Tubbs. “I’m proud to represent these men,” said MM&P Regional Representative John Schaeffner. “Their seamanship and quick thinking saved two lives.”

The CASCADES was down-bound in the upper reaches of the Columbia with four loaded grain barges when the crew spotted the two men clinging to their capsized sailboat. It was “an observation which is difficult to do under the best of conditions,” Schaeffner says.

“We had been in the water for at least an hour and we were hypothermic,” Greg Clayton, one of the men rescued, wrote in a letter to Shaver Transportation President Steve Shaver. Crewmembers in the tug’s skiff pulled Clayton and his friend Rocky Brooks out of the cold water. Back aboard the CASCADES, “they dried our clothing, wrapped us in blankets and gave us coffee to increase our body temperatures,” Clayton wrote. “They were professional and courteous to a man. They all went way above and beyond.”

The crew helped the two men get a taxi at Umatilla, the next port of call. “I do not think we could have lasted much longer,” Clayton said. “They saved our lives, for which we are truly grateful.”

“Job well done,” agreed Shaver Transportation HR Manager Ken Anderson. “It was fortunate that we were in the right place at the right time with the proper gear, training and a crew willing to do what was needed to save the lives of these two men.”