x

Society

Man Rescued by Coast Guard Wanted in ‘Goonies’ Fish Incident

February 4, 2023

SEATTLE (AP) — A man who was saved by a Coast Guard rescue swimmer at the mouth of the Columbia River as a massive wave rolled the yacht he was piloting Friday was wanted for a bizarre incident in which police said he left a dead fish at the Astoria, Oregon, home featured in the classic 1985 film, “The Goonies.”

Officers had been looking for the man since Wednesday, when an acquaintance alerted them to a video he posted on social media of himself leaving the fish at the house and then dancing around the property, Astoria Police Chief Stacy Kelly said.

Kelly identified the man as Jericho Labonte, 35, of Victoria, British Columbia. Labonte is also wanted in British Columbia on criminal harassment, mischief and failure to comply cases from last fall, Kelly said.

Early Friday afternoon, the Coast Guard shared stunning video of a rescue made a few hours earlier in which a newly minted rescue swimmer lowered by cable from a helicopter swam to a 35-foot (11-meter) yacht that was struggling in heavy surf. As the swimmer approached the vessel, a large wave slammed into it, rolling the boat over and throwing a man, later identified as Labonte, into the water.

The swimmer, Petty Officer 1st Class Branch Walton, of Greenville, South Carolina, reached Labonte and pulled him to safety. The helicopter crew flew him to Coast Guard Base Astoria, where medics treated him for mild hypothermia and transported him to a hospital.

The yacht’s owner, who lives in nearby Warrenton, Oregon, reported the vessel stolen later Friday, the police chief said.

In this photo provided by the U.S Coast Guard Pacific Northwest, Coast Guard personnel help carry a swimmer from a rescue helicopter after he was rescued from the mouth of the Columbia River after his boat was capsized by a giant wave on Friday, Feb. 3, 2023, at Coast Guard Base Astoria, Ore. A newly minted Coast Guard rescue swimmer saved the man’s life at the mouth of the river between Oregon and Washington state. (AET1 Kyle Turcotte/U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Northwest via AP)

The hospital had already released Labonte when police saw the Coast Guard photos and video and realized it was the same person who they said covered over security cameras at the Goonies house and left the dead fish on the porch.

Police were still looking for Labonte Friday evening.

Kelly didn’t know what kind of fish it was, but said police believed it was caught locally because after the video started circulating another person reported having taken Labonte fishing.

“It’s been a really odd 48 hours,” Kelly said.

The mouth of the Columbia, the largest North American river flowing into the Pacific Ocean, is known as “the graveyard of the Pacific” for its notoriously rough seas. The Coast Guard received the yacht’s mayday call around 10 a.m. Friday while conducting trainings nearby, Petty Officer Michael Clark said.

The mayday contained no information about location or the specific problem, but the agency roughly triangulated the vessel’s location and nearby boat crews and a helicopter responded.

They found the P/C Sandpiper yacht taking on water in 20-foot (6-meter) seas, meaning the height of a wave from the previous trough could be as much as 40 feet (12 meters), Clark said.

Walton, who only recently graduated from the Coast Guard’s rescue swimmer program, was lowered from the helicopter by a cable. Labonte climbed onto the stern and prepared to enter the water just as a huge wave slammed the craft, throwing him into the surf. The wave struck so violently that the vessel rolled completely over and wound up floating upright.

Walton said in an interview Friday that he planned to reach the man, get him in the water and hook him to a cable attached to the helicopter. Instead, the wave hit.

“I kind of got thrown around a little bit by the wave. When I came up I noticed the boat was pretty much in shambles,” Walton said.

He directed the helicopter to bring him to Labonte after spotting him in the surf a short distance away. The force of the wave had mostly knocked off his life jacket, Walton said.


By GENE JOHNSON Associated Press

RELATED

NEW YORK — Opening statements in Donald Trump's hush money case are set to begin next week after a jury of 12 people and six alternates was seated Friday.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

Indians Vote in the First Phase of the World’s Largest Election as Modi Seeks a Third Term

NEW DELHI (AP) — Millions of Indians began voting Friday in a six-week election that's a referendum on Narendra Modi, the populist prime minister who has championed an assertive brand of Hindu nationalist politics and is seeking a rare third term as the country's leader.

NEW YORK – The iconic Greek singer Haris Alexiou appeared on a billboard at the famous ‘Crossroads of the World,’ Times Square in New York on April 18 as the face of a global campaign for equality in the music industry, Athens Voice reported.

ATHENS - The ballot paper for the upcoming European elections was presented by the leader of SYRIZA - Progressive Alliance Stefanos Kasselakis, on Friday night at the 'Hellenic Cosmos' Cultural Center.

ATHENS - The Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited the upgraded port of Sigri in Lesvos as part of his tour of the island on Friday.

ASTORIA – Danae and Hellenic Aesthetic announced the launch of their collaboration ‘Dressing the Table’ on the Hellenic Aesthetic blog on April 17, noting that “the inspiration behind this project is to bring new life into our forgotten family heirlooms, like hand-embroidered tablecloths, so we can enjoy them in a modern way.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.