Kale Williams SF GATE
3 Men Pulled from Surf to Safety by Sonoma County Helicopter Crew
October 22, 2014
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  • Three men were plucked from rough waters by a rescue helicopter after their fishing boat capsized off the Sonoma County coast on Wednesday afternoon, officials said.

    The unidentified men, who were between the ages of 34 and 66, were fishing in a 12-foot inflatable boat about 300 yards offshore just south of the mouth of the Gualala River about five miles north of the community of Sea Ranch around 1:45 p.m., a Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said.

    A rogue wave washed over the bow of the small boat, the men later told sheriff’s deputies, flipping the vessel and tossing all three into the water.

    The Sheriff’s Office scrambled to get a helicopter rescue crew in the air. They arrived at the scene just after 2 p.m. to find the three men on top of the capsized boat attempting to row it to shore in 5- to 8-foot waves, officials said. All one of them was wearing a lifejacket, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

    The helicopter, known as Henry 1, quickly landed on the beach, where the three-man crew reconfigured their equipment for a long line rescue, then snagged each man from the overturned vessel using a horse-collar rescue device at the end of a 100-foot line.

    All three were dropped off, uninjured, on the beach, officials said.

    Kale Williams is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: kwilliams@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @sfkale