Good thing I stepped outside . . . . .

by Felecia Eby April. 27, 2013 3884 views

This is why their yelling at him was pertinent. Here is the original police press release:

Astoria Man Pulled From Columbia
On April 24, 2013, at 11:06 AM, Astoria Police and Fire Department's responded to the area of 16th at the Columbia River. There was a report that a male subject was in the water and refusing to get out.
Astoria police recognized the subject as Michael Bunch age 67 of rural Astoria. On arrival, Police and Fire realized that the situation was going to be challenging. The inwater area had several pilings and concrete structures that would inhibit a boat from reaching Bunch. Bunch would not cooperate with responders. He would swim away from any rescue devices thrown to him. Several times he would near shore only to swim away, saying voices were calling him out. Responders were fearful of attempting to swim out to bring him in because he did not want to be rescued. From the time of the initial call Bunch was in the water for 18 minutes.
When Bunch neared the shoreline at about 11:27 AM Officer AJ Duryea, wearing a life vest and tethered, waded into the river and grabbed a shivering Bunch pulling him out of the water. He was turned over to Medix Ambulance and transported to Columbia Memorial Hospital. He was detained on a Police Officer Hold because officers believed he was a threat to himself.

Okay, now here is the CORRECTED police press release:

Astoria Man Pulled From Columbia - Name Correction

On April 24, 2013, at 11:06 AM, Astoria Police and Fire Department's responded to the area of 16th at the Columbia River. There was a report that a male subject was in the water and refusing to get out.

Astoria police recognized the subject as Robert Velzy, age 57, of Astoria. (Really? They did? Then why were they calling him “Michael” the entire time. The rest of the release is the same as the original. I just can't believe they didn't change that sentence or remove it entirely.

So I was at the office Wednesday when I stepped outside for a smoke : ( and saw that there was a man in the water. Several people saw him from the street and apparently thought he was swimming.

After (approximately) 5 minutes, I could see that he was struggling and called 911.

All of the emergency workers came and thought they knew who he was and were trying to throw him lines and get him back to shore. The water temperature is between 49 and 52 degrees.

I could see his teeth chattering and that he was losing strength. He would periodically get close enough to grab one of the lines they threw him, but then he would swim away again. Each time it seemed like more of a struggle for him to get back. Also, the tide was rising at this time.

The whole time, they are yelling to him, “Michael, will you please come back to shore? Michael, will you please grab the line for me?” (This is relevant to the) story.

After more than 20 minutes, they finally got him out of the water. The report says 18, but I didn’t call for at least 5.

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There are 35 comments , add yours!
Sadhya Rippon 7 years, 8 months ago

Poor guy, what ever his name is. It was great that you called the emergency services - your great observation may have saved his life. Sounds as if he has severe mental health problems. I hope he recovers soon.

7 years, 8 months ago Edited
John Parsons 7 years, 8 months ago

Interesting report ..great photo opportunity..

7 years, 8 months ago Edited
Marsha 7 years, 8 months ago

Well, I thought I commented on this...oh wait ;)))
Really great photo sequence and documentation of events!!

7 years, 8 months ago Edited
Pete 7 years, 8 months ago

glad you spotted it and made that call

7 years, 8 months ago Edited
Darlene Foster 7 years, 8 months ago

How strange and strangely exciting! Were they trying to cover something up? Well at least you did your good deed for this poor lost soul, whoever he is!

7 years, 8 months ago Edited
Lukesmom 7 years, 8 months ago

How strange is that? Good for you calling 911! Glad you to see you back here. I miss you when you're gone!

7 years, 8 months ago Edited
Dan Ravasio 7 years, 8 months ago

Bravo, Felecia.....

7 years, 8 months ago Edited
Christa 7 years, 8 months ago

You are a good observer with quick actions, good for this man whatever his name is.
Great report, better than the police report.

7 years, 8 months ago Edited
Nanci A Mattos Nanci 7 years, 9 months ago

I'm glad he survived, you have attitude my friend Felicia... very good!

7 years, 9 months ago Edited
Dunja 7 years, 9 months ago

Great reporting! Thanks for sharing!

7 years, 9 months ago Edited
Storytaylor 7 years, 9 months ago

wonderful moments and photos.

7 years, 9 months ago Edited
Eiram Marie 7 years, 9 months ago

Hmmm...makes me wonder...why did not anybody jump to the water and help him?!? You mean, the rescuers were standing and shouting:grab the line?!
For 20 minutes?!

Great report, Fel!

7 years, 9 months ago Edited
David Cardona 7 years, 9 months ago

Excellent report sequence! Thanks for sharing!

7 years, 9 months ago Edited
Roxanne 7 years, 9 months ago

wow you are his angel. this is a very bizarre story. good for you for paying attention!

7 years, 9 months ago Edited
Anggrekfoto 7 years, 9 months ago

Excellent reporting.

7 years, 9 months ago Edited
Leslie D 7 years, 9 months ago

I think there is never a dull moment when you are around. You are like a chaos magnet!
Excellent reporting, Felecia.

7 years, 9 months ago Edited
Josy 7 years, 9 months ago

Strange history.
And smoking doesn't still kill !

7 years, 9 months ago Edited
Tom Thompson 7 years, 9 months ago

So was it the news fault or the rescue fault, good captures

7 years, 9 months ago Edited
Sara G 7 years, 9 months ago

in spite of the fact that you were smoking, good deed done..I guess. He would probably be better off dead.

7 years, 9 months ago Edited
Yves Monast 7 years, 9 months ago

cool find Felecia a little taste of press action well done........

7 years, 9 months ago Edited
Vivienne Albiston 7 years, 9 months ago

Good reporting sequence.

7 years, 9 months ago Edited
Lluã­S Dalmau 7 years, 9 months ago

great reportage!

7 years, 9 months ago Edited
Art Bee 7 years, 9 months ago

Ya did good Felecia! Great reportage and photos too!

7 years, 9 months ago Edited
Tomie Poodle 7 years, 9 months ago

Luckily for him you was there to call the 911! we said to smoke kill...but it can save someone too!! :)
in France newspapers don't give the name of victims...a Bunch from Velzy to you :))

7 years, 9 months ago Edited
Mark 7 years, 9 months ago

Story, very weird! Great you were there to call!

7 years, 9 months ago Edited
Walter 7 years, 9 months ago

I won't comment, because you were smoking. Humpf.

7 years, 9 months ago Edited
Agnes Felber 7 years, 9 months ago

Very interesting story! I am glad the guy, whatever his name or age was,m survived... But Girlfriend, what do I hear? What were you doing outside? And I thought you had quit together with EDGAR?!?

7 years, 9 months ago Edited
Abby 7 years, 9 months ago

Wow - what excitement!!!

7 years, 9 months ago Edited
Stefan Fletcher 7 years, 9 months ago

Fascinating story and good for you for calling 911. There's a photographer joke that goes like this:

If you saw a man drowning, would you try to help or photograph it? And what lens would you use?

Thank you for proving it very happily wrong.

7 years, 9 months ago Edited
Sandra Vermeulen 7 years, 9 months ago

[b]You did a very good deed here Felicia.[/b]

[i]Press, funny people if you ask me.[/i] ;^)

7 years, 9 months ago Edited
Moira 7 years, 9 months ago

Great bright pictures you took , glad it was a happy ending. Since he was strange maybe he told the police his name was Michael then they found out his true identity .

7 years, 9 months ago Edited
Derek 7 years, 9 months ago

Very strange. Good thing you were there!

7 years, 9 months ago Edited
Antonio Gil 7 years, 9 months ago

They change his name and his age. Strange. Fortunately you were there Felecia.

7 years, 9 months ago Edited
Jacki 7 years, 9 months ago

It's a good thing you are so observant, you may have saved his life!

7 years, 9 months ago Edited
Helen Hooker 7 years, 9 months ago

How bizarre! At least they got him out safely, whatever his name!

7 years, 9 months ago Edited