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Camas honors those who responded in boat accident

Eight people who helped after a boat crash in September given recognition by Camas Fire Department

CAMAS — Eight people who aided in the rescue of survivors after a fatal boat crash in Camas on Sept. 2 were honored at Monday’s Camas City Council meeting.

Camas Fire Chief Nick Swinhart and members of the Camas Fire Department presented the recipients with with certificates in front of the Camas City Council. Chief Swinhart first gave a short speech, expressing his gratitude for how efficiently the bystanders helped his firefighters the day of the crash.

Wilson Brown, one of those who helped survivors the day of the Camas slough boating accident, is presented with his certificate of appreciation at Monday’s Camas City Council meeting, from the fire chief of Camas Fire Department, Nick Swinhart. Photo by Jacob Granneman
Wilson Brown, one of those who helped survivors the day of the Camas slough boating accident, is presented with his certificate of appreciation at Monday’s Camas City Council meeting, from the fire chief of Camas Fire Department, Nick Swinhart. Photo by Jacob Granneman

On Sept. 2, two boats collided head on in the Camas slough, beneath the SR-14 bridge.

Two men and one woman were involved in the crash, and all received first aid and assistance from the bystanders who rushed to help. The two men were stabilized and transported to the hospital when firefighters arrived. The woman died at the scene.

“Everybody just kinda reacted, kinda how you’d hope they would, and we did the best we could,” said Michael Friedman, one of those who responded to the accident. “It’s not necessary but, very sweet gesture from the Camas Fire Department, they were phenomenal.”

ire chief of Camas Fire Department, Nick Swinhart, gives a short speech at Monday’s Camas City Council meeting, honoring the bystanders that saved lives in September's boat crash. Photo by Jacob Granneman
ire chief of Camas Fire Department, Nick Swinhart, gives a short speech at Monday’s Camas City Council meeting, honoring the bystanders that saved lives in September’s boat crash. Photo by Jacob Granneman

Chief Swinhart said the firefighters who responded remarked that the “… level of coordination and care …” was some “… rarely seen outside of trained response teams.”

“I would like to think that most people would have done the same,” said Marshall West, who was first on the scene, and dove in the water to help the injured to shore. “It’s [the award] not necessarily needed on my end, I saw that people were in need so I jumped in to help.”

Liz Downie followed Marshall into the water that day as well.

Members of the Camas City Council applaud the people who rescued two men after a boating accident in September. Photo by Jacob Granneman
Members of the Camas City Council applaud the people who rescued two men after a boating accident in September. Photo by Jacob Granneman

“It was an emergency situation but we did what we could,” said Downie. “I feel like we are getting honored for something I don’t even think we should be honored for. I think this is, something anybody should have done.”

Greg Payne is a firefighter with the Camas Fire Department. He was there the day of the boating accident, and recalls the actions of the bystanders and his crews as very effective given the circumstances.

“I’ve got almost 30 years in here … there were a lot of issues with this call that were working against us,” Payne said. “The crews just did a phenomenal job with very little direction. Three different crew members came up to me and … referred to the bystanders and what an excellent help they were.”

Michael Friedman Photo by Jacob Granneman
Michael Friedman Photo by Jacob Granneman
Marshall West, at the ceremony honoring his and others’ actions at a boat crash in September. Photo by Jacob Granneman
Marshall West, at the ceremony honoring his and others’ actions at a boat crash in September. Photo by Jacob Granneman
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About The Author

Jacob Granneman is a filmmaker and writer from Clark County. He is a recent graduate of Washington State University’s Edward R. Murrow College, where he studied media production. He has produced documentary stories all over the Pacific Northwest and in Argentina. His passions range from loving people, to cinematography, to going on adventures in the most beautiful place on earth, i.e. his backyard. He lives with his wife in Vancouver, WA.

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