A Coast Guard Air Station Astoria aircrew hoisted two hikers to safety early Monday morning near Hug Point after they became stranded on an outcropping of rock when the tide rolled in and cut them off from the beach.
The hikers, both 20-year-old females from Canby, were brought to local emergency responders on scene without visible injuries, Petty Officer 1st Class Levi Read said.
Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Columbia River Command Center received the request for assistance from the Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office at 11:45 p.m. Sunday after the mother of one of the hikers reported them missing.
Shortly before 11 p.m., Tara Van Ness, 20, and Annie Finch, 20, called a friend and then the mother, reporting they had to climb a cliff to avoid water and get better cell service.
“Before a complete description of their predicament could be given, their phone cut out,” Sgt. Matt Phillips, Search and Rescue Coordinator for the Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office, wrote in a press release.
The Sheriff’s Office found Van Ness’ vehicle in the Hug Point area, then requested assistance from the Coast Guard, who flew the coastline in search of them.
Around 2:30 a.m. Monday, the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew found Van Ness and Finch about 150 feet up a cliff on the north side of Cape Falcon in Tillamook County and hoisted them up.
“The girls had wandered pretty far down the coast from where they were originally supposed to be,” Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Klingenberg, of Coast Guard Public Affairs, said.
Cape Falcon is about three miles south of the Hug Point parking lot, Van Ness and Finches’ intended destination.
The girls had became disoriented and trapped by the incoming tide. It is unknown why they became disoriented, but “we believe that they just lost their way,” Klingenberg added.
“We get a lot of these (incidents),” Clatsop County Sheriff Tom Bergin said.
The weather at the time was reported as clear skies and calm winds.
“The skilled pilots and crews (of the Coast Guard) certainly saved significant time in locating and rescuing Van Ness and Finch from a dangerous situation,” Phillips said.