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Jul-06-2008 21:22printcomments

14-Year Old Surfer Struck by Dory Fishing Boat Loses Arm at Pacific City Beach

The victim, Cole Ortega of Bend, had been surfing with his 16-year old sister and her boyfriend. Other members of Ortega's family were on scene.

Cape Kiwanda at Pacific City from the air
Cape Kiwanda at Pacific City from the air
Courtesy: nwcoast.com

(PACIFIC CITY, Ore.) - One of the worst things any surfer who goes to Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City can imagine, happened today. Just before 10:00 AM, a 14-year old boy surfing in large waves at PC was run down by a double ended dory fishing boat, police say. The boy survived, but his left arm was amputated in the collision.

Over the years, relations between surfers and dory boat operators in this coastal Oregon town are sometimes tense. It was reported that there may have been more victims.

There are many close calls at this otherwise pleasant beach; but the boats and surfers almost always manage to avoid each other.

Pacific City is home of the west coast dory fleet, and the only place in Oregon where fishermen take their boats out straight through the surf on a regular basis.

Oregon State Police say that at approximately 9:51 AM, OSP Senior Trooper Doug Shugart of the McMinnville Area Command was checking Dory Boat fisherman off the beach at Cape Kiwanda. He reports that the ocean today was fairly rough with swells greater than nine feet, "which provides great surfing, but poor visibility to Dory boats coming to shore, " Shugart stated.

The trooper says he witnessed a Dory boat preparing to come to shore, then heard from citizens that the boat had struck a surfer.

He located the injured surfer, bleeding from a left arm amputation, who was aided to shore by other surfers. The limb was recovered by a surfer. Shugart began providing emergency medical care for the 14-year-old victim, Cole Ortega of Bend, Oregon.


Shugart identified the operator of the dory boat as 55-year old Darrel Martin of Beaver, Oregon.

The Senior Trooper fortunately, was able to locate an emergency room physician who was walking on the beach nearby.

Shugart transported the victim in his patrol vehicle to the main parking lot of Cape Kiwanda while the emergency room doctor provided essential care.

Shortly thereafter, the young surfer was transferred to a Tillamook County Ambulance and was subsequently transported to the Tillamook County General Hospital.

Cole Ortega had been surfing with his 16-year old sister and her boyfriend. Other members of Ortega's family were on scene.

Shugart says that due to high surf, numerous surfers and dorys on the water, deputies from the Tillamook County Sheriff's Office and troopers from OSP requested that all surfers exit the water so the dorys could come to shore safely.

He says an investigation revealed that there could be a possibility of additional surfers struck by vessels coming to shore during this high surf.

The Tillamook County Sheriff's Office Marine Patrol is conducting the investigation into the boating incident.




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Anonymous July 15, 2008 6:05 pm (Pacific time)

Does anyone read the signs at the boat ramp? They have been put there for a reason, to keep boaters and surfers safe. Time and time again we go to the beach to see people disregarding the warnings, they think the rules don't apply to them or something. This is a very sad example of why vehicles and surfers are asked to go to the LEFT of the boat ramp and boats ONLY to the RIGHT!! It angers me that more respect isn't shown for the dorymen who have been there in that same spot for YEARS!! Just because no one inforces the rules posted doesn't mean you can go where ever you want. When the rules are followed, beachcombers, surfers, tidepool explorers and all can get along. A boat cannot stop on a dime just because someone surfs in front of them or walks on the beach where they are planning on coming in. They start their run to the beach way out there. It's the sport of doryfishing, getting out and in through the surf. They have such a small portion of the beach that they can use, I think it would be great if more people understood that and used ALL the rest of the beach for their enjoyment and the rest of the surf for sufing, but give the dorymen their space. I have watched them being crowded out over the years. Not fair!


also a Homeowner in p.c. July 12, 2008 5:02 pm (Pacific time)

I think it so so sad how everyone in this town and others near by are reacting and I to own a home and live in p.c. I am so upset at how the community is so quick to point fingers and put the surfers down and the tourist. This town could not survive without them!!! Everyone saw the pictures of the boat and the driver it was horrible to look at how a person from around here could be so harsh to a hurt person (child)and yes I think he should be fined, the whole reason we bought our home and moved here was because of the friendly people and the boats and the SURFERS, I just hope we don't push people away that want to visit this beautiful place that we all love.


shell July 9, 2008 10:55 pm (Pacific time)

Shame on all of you. A friend of my son just lost his arm! Hope you all burn in hell!!! It is a human we are talking about here! And no, you do not own the beach!


tim July 9, 2008 9:19 am (Pacific time)

Dear PC home owner, Your poor attitude is reflected in your first line, "our beach." It is not your beach, it public property for anyone to enjoy, from PC or other places. Suggesting the parents of a victim be arrested after losing his arm? Really, shame on you.


Randy July 9, 2008 1:58 am (Pacific time)

This Cole Ortega kid got what he deserved. He is a complete Jackass to many kids at my school, and in all honesty we really don't care for him. As far as we see it, you reap what you sow and he is no exception. I do hope he has a speedy recovery, but hopefully he will finally learn something from this whether it was God's will or not.


PC Home owner July 7, 2008 10:07 pm (Pacific time)

This was bound to happen, every since the surfers have taken over our beach here, they think they own the land, with as many other places to surf that do not have dory's on the beach, they could surf there and be safe. Unfortunatly this has happened. many times we have walked on the beach and seen how the surfers do not obey the sign that says for them to stay to the south of this mark..and dory launchers are only allowed to the north. many times we have seen cars parked in the no parking area, not just for surfers but for other tourists that again can not seem to read signs correctly. It would be sad if the boat captain was arrested, the parents of the boy should have been arrested or at least fined for not obeying the law.


Anonymous July 7, 2008 6:14 pm (Pacific time)

I heard the boat captain was arrested and charged.

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