Crew recalls miraculous 2016 rescue of 6-year-old in Winchester Bay at ceremony
WINCHESTER BAY, Ore. -- 11 Coast Guard Station Umpqua River members and a Bandon Fire Department rescue diver received recognition at the Umpqua River Awards ceremony Friday for their efforts in a miraculous rescue.
"It is with great pride that I'm here this morning to participate in this event, because again it was truly unique, and I am convinced that I will never see it again," described Captain Michael Trimpert with US Coast Guard Sector North Bend.
On August 25, 2016, a six-year-old boy, his father and grandfather were returning to Winchester Bay from a fishing and crabbing trip when their boat hit the jetty and capsized.
When the Coast Guard Search and Rescue coordinator was briefed on the accident, she immediately made a call to Bandon rescue diver Bob Hood.
"I didn't know where he was or if he could help, but I knew that he was our best chance,” said Lt. Commander Anna Steel, SAR Coordinator with Coast Guard Sector North Bend. “My next call was to the Coast Guard station; I said, 'Make sure your gate's open, because he's coming!'"
The Coast Guard was able to rescue the two men but the boy, Isaiah Metzger, was still trapped under the hull of the boat.
Isaiah had been submerged for over 30 minutes when Hood pulled him from underneath the boat, performed CPR, then gave him to the Coast Guard.
"It is important for us to come out because these guys, a lot of what they do, they're trained to rescue people, but a lot of what they do is they end up recovering people, and his was one of those rare cases where all of a sudden it turns back into a rescue," said Isaiah’s father, Joshua Metzger.
After spending several days in the hospital and going through physical therapy, Isaiah fought for a second chance at life.
"To see him walk away virtually unscathed is nothing short of a miracle that these guys helped make happen," said Metzger.
It still affects those who responded to know they turned Isaiah's story from tragedy to miraculous recovery.
"I've been in the Coast Guard for 16 years and those two minutes are probably the highlight of my career,” said Steel.
"It's hard not to choke up,” said Hood. “You do when you see Isaiah and his family; you know, it's amazing, I mean, you relive it all the time."