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The City of Portland, Oregon

Fire & Rescue

Always Ready, Always There

Phone: 503-823-3700

Fax: 503-823-3710

55 SW Ash Street, Portland, OR 97204

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Portland Fire & Rescue Pulls Unluck Sailor from Partially Capsized Sailboat in Columbia River

Posted @ 2:54 pm

At 9:15 am, Portland Fire & Rescue responded to calls for a river rescue in the Columbia River near the Interstate 5 Bridge. Initial reports indicated that a sailboat had partially capsized after running into a railroad bridge.

Upon arrival in Fireboat 17, firefighters from North Portland Fire Station 17 found a 33' sailboat trapped underneath a railroad bridge (#49 Vancouver Trestle), which is just down river from the I-5 bridge. The sailboat was partially capsized, and firefighters pulled 81-year-old Paul Bulkley of Camas, Washington off the sailboat and onto the fireboat. Bulkley, who was wearing a life jacket, was uninjured. However, his sailboat didn't fare as well.

Bulkley relayed to firefighters that he had a challenging morning of sailing having run into four sandbars before approaching the railroad bridge and underestimating its height. He purchased the boat, a 1978 Tartan, just four weeks ago.

The Port of Portland, US Coast Guard and Multnomah County Sheriff's Office also assisted in the response. The sailboat was pulled from the bridge by the Multnomah County Sheriff's boat Liberty and is now moored near Hayden Island. The trestle bridge is owned by Burlington Northern and inspectors are currently assessing whether the accident caused damage to the bridge. There are no reported interruptions in rail service on the bridge at this time.