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Mishap kills 1 at river mouth

Boat capsizes in breakers; one woman swims to safety

A man died and a woman suffered hypothermia after their boat overturned at the mouth of the Klamath River late Saturday.

The pair from Cresent City became stranded in the river when their rowboat’s motor failed around 11:30 p.m., said sheriff’s Commander Bill Steven.

The boat was then swept toward breaking waves 10–15 feet high and overturned, Steven said.

“When it hit the breakers it capsized,” said Steven.

The woman, Moonchay Dowd, 31, was able to swim to the sand bar, but her boyfriend, Ryan Lee Ellis-Sanderson, 34, was found a half-mile south of the mouth and pronounced dead by 12:45 a.m., Steven said.

Someone heard Dowd yelling on the beach for help and made the emergency call, said Del Norte Search and Rescue Assistant Coordinator Tom Cabrera.

“They were out in the chute and got washed out when the motor died,” said Cabrera.

The Yurok Tribal Police were first on scene to give Ellis-Sanderson CPR, but he never recovered, Cabrera said.

“Ryan didn’t have a life jacket on him, unfortunately,” said Cabrera.

Dowd was transported to Sutter Coast Hospital for treatment of hypothermia, Steven said.

Del Norte Ambulance and the Klamath Fire Protection District also assisted in the response.

Saturday’s incident marked the second time last week that aid needed to be rendered to people  at the mouth of the Klamath.

Last Wednesday around 9:30 p.m., two people on a jet ski became stranded in the chute when they couldn’t fight the current, Cabrera said.

Yurok Tribal Police officers were able to rescue them, he said.

Reach Anthony Skeens at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it  

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