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The Coast Guard rescued two beachgoers who found themselves stranded deep inside a cave south of Yachats, Oregon, Tuesday night.

A Coast Guard Sector North Bend MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew, forward deployed to the air facility in Newport, Oregon, hoisted the two men and transferred them to the air facility where they were met by local emergency responders.

Sector North Bend watchstanders received the report of the stranded men from Lincoln County Fire Department who requested Coast Guard assistance when one man fell in the water and the other attempted a rescue, subsequently sweeping them both into a nearby cave. Sector watchstanders immediately diverted the helicopter crew from a nearby training mission.

The Dolphin crew arrived on scene and were unable to locate the two men inside the cave after making three hovering passes. An Oregon State Police officer was able to locate the two men from a distance and visually signaled the helicopter to their location. The aircrew then lowered a rescue swimmer to assess the situation, finding one of the men semi-conscious and both hypothermic.

“When we saw a survivor peak his head out of the cave, the aircrew was overcome with relief but also an incredible sense of urgency,” said Lt. Zach Wiest, aircraft commander, Sector North Bend. “Together we devised a rescue plan and worked together flawlessly during the most technically challenging case any of us has ever been a part of.”

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