A Portland man is believed to have drowned early Sunday morning in the Multnomah Channel near Scappoose after falling overboard from a fishing boat.
The body of Erik Peterson, 49, of Portland, was recovered Sunday evening, July 16, shortly before 5:30 p.m. near the Coon Island Docks by Columbia County sheriff's deputies, the U.S. Coast Guard, and Scappoose Fire District's marine unit, the Columbia County Sheriff's Office reported.
Investigators were told Peterson and two friends, along with a 10-year-old child, set out from Waverly Marina in Portland Saturday afternoon on a boat, headed up the Multnomah Channel. The group docked at the Coon Island Docks, where they anchored for the evening around 9:30 p.m. and slept on the boat.
Perterson got up early Sunday morning, before daybreak, to set up fishing poles and gear for the day's fishing trip, friends staying on the boat with Peterson told investigators. Shortly before 4 a.m., they called for emergency help when they heard a commotion and saw Peterson in the water.
"Just prior to the 911 call they reported that they heard what sounded like someone falling on the boat and then a splash," a news release from the Sheriff's Office states. "They both went to the back of the boat where they observed Mr. Peterson had fell [sic] into the water. They attempted to throw him life vests and a throw device and then lost sight of him."
Emergency responders arrived in the area around 4:55 a.m., the Sheriff's Office reported and located Peterson's body in the water before pulling it aboard their marine response boat at 5:23 a.m. Peterson was pronounced dead at the scene from apparent drowning.
Officers from the Portland Police Bureau assisted with the death notification to next of kin. The incident remains under investigation.
Sunday's incident is the second time in the last 30 days the U.S. Coast Guard and county Sheriff's Office have responded to a man overboard call in Columbia County. In late June, both agencies rescued a man from the Columbia River after his boat capsized near Deer Island.