Lily Markwell, a fifth grade student from Portland, died June 18 after being swept out to sea north of Haystack Rock. Cannon Beach Fire District and Seaside Fire's Surf Rescue Team were dispatched at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, June 17, for a child in the water, being “sucked out” by the tide.
Cannon Beach Fire incident commander and Cannon Beach Police contacted the family and confirmed that Markwell was still in the water and had been swept out by the tide.
A Cannon Beach rescue swimmer arrived and entered the water on the north side of Haystack Rock and began a search. Seaside Fire jet skis arrived shortly after to assist with search and rescue operations. A Coast Guard helicopter joined the search and located the victim, directing personnel to their location.
Markwell was brought to shore by a jet ski and rescue swimmer. LifeFlight landed on the beach and she was flown to the hospital.
Markwell’s school, ACCESS Academy Alternative Program, located at Vestal Elementary School in Portland, announced her death Saturday, June 19. A vigil was planned for Monday night, June 21.
Cannon Beach Fire District and Seaside Fire & Rescue would like to remind everyone the Pacific Ocean currents are unpredictable and rip currents can take a person out in a matter of seconds. Although ambient air and ocean water temperatures are becoming warmer, the water is still cold and can rapidly decrease a swimmer's ability. If you see a distressed person in the water, call 911 immediately. Cannon Beach Fire District and Seaside Fire & Rescue are primarily volunteer based departments, and it takes time to assemble personnel for a rescue. A surf rescue call in the district is a joint operation between Cannon Beach Fire District, Seaside Fire and Rescue, and Nehalem Bay Fire and Rescue.
Cannon Beach Fire District would like to thank Seaside Fire & Rescue, Nehalem Bay Fire & Rescue, Cannon Beach Police, LifeFlight, U.S Coast Guard, and MEDIX Ambulance for their assistance in this rescue.