A trio of salmon fishermen were forced to abandon ship seconds before a speeding yacht flattened their little boat near the mouth of the Columbia River just east of Fort Stevens State Park.
The Clatsop County sheriff’s department has accused 75-year-old Marlin Lee Larsen of “operating a boat without due care.” According to The Oregonian, the elderly yacht captain couldn’t see the little fishing boat because he was sitting down. Larson’s son-in-law told investigators that Marlin was not paying attention and had been using his cell phone while piloting the yacht.
Bryan Maess, 47, was fishing with co-worker Christopher McMahon, 46, and friend Roni Durham, 57, when they were struck by Larsen’s yacht. Maess has filed a $372,500 lawsuit against Larsen.
A pair of GoPro cameras mounted on Maess’s boat captured the crash in stunning detail. McMahon can be seen yelling and waving his arms in an attempt to get Larsen’s attention. When it became clear the yacht wasn’t changing course, the three anglers jumped overboard into frigid water.
The video was edited together with photographs of the wrecked boat and shared on Angling Oregon and Salmon Trout Steelheader’s Facebook pages.
The edited video encourages boaters and fishermen to wear life jackets. Neither Maess nor McMahon were wearing flotation devices. Durham’s life jacket failed to inflate. Fortnately no one was killed, but McMahon and Durham suffered several minor injuries, cuts, and hypothermia. They have not yet filed lawsuits against Larsen, but have contacted an attorney.