Narong Khaokham died helping attempt to save Michael S. Stewart from drowning, Netarts, Oregon, October 6, 2010. Stewart, 61, was crabbing in Netarts Bay when his 12-foot boat was carried by a very strong tidal current through the narrow mouth of the bay into the Pacific Ocean, where seven-foot waves were breaking. He yelled and signaled for help. Khaokham, 67, retired carpenter, and a male companion were also crabbing in the bay, in the companion’s 18-foot boat. Alerted to Stewart’s situation, they immediately responded, leaving the bay through its mouth and approaching Stewart’s boat in the breaker zone. As they closed in on Stewart’s boat, which was then about 300 feet from shore, Stewart threw them a rope, but it fell short. After they circled back to Stewart’s boat on another pass, Stewart again threw the line, but again it fell short. On a third pass, Khaokham threw a line to Stewart, and Stewart caught it. A large wave then capsized Stewart’s boat, sending him into the water. Khaokham and his companion pulled Stewart aboard their boat, but then another large wave caused it to capsize. Surfacing, Khaokham’s companion secured a hold of both Khaokham, who was unresponsive, and the overturned boat as they were carried farther out to sea. Khaokham was recovered by fire department personnel using a personal watercraft, and Stewart was recovered by a Coast Guard rescue boat, but neither could be revived. Khaokham’s companion, rescued by Coast Guard helicopter, required hospital treatment for nearly drowning, and he recovered.
83566 – 944383566-9443