Boy’s Arm Severed In Surfing Accident

As reported on

PACIFIC CITY, Ore. — A 14-year-old surfer had his arm severed by a Dory boat headed for shore Sunday on the Oregon Coast.

Cole Ortega, of Bend, had been surfing with his sister and her boyfriend at Cape Kiwanda near the coastal town of Pacific City.

Witnesses said the boat, operated by 55-year-old Darrel Martin, came into shore at a high speed, struck Ortega and tore his arm off between the left elbow and shoulder.

Surfers carried Ortega to shore and placed him in a pickup truck belonging to a Fish and Wildlife officer. Meanwhile, other surfers retrieved Ortega’s arm from the sea.

Two doctors and a nurse who were at the beach helped treat the boy until an ambulance took him to a hospital.

A rough ocean day made for good surfing, but poor visibility for Dory boats heading for shore Sunday, authorities said. The swells heading toward the beach were 8 to 10 feet high.

“The surf was really high out there,” said surfer Dan Elstone. “So (Ortega) couldn’t see behind the waves. (The boat driver) didn’t honk his horn or anything. He came straight in.”

Cape Kiwanda is home to a large Dory fishing fleet and it’s also a popular surfing location, state police said.

Some of the surfers said they have an ongoing problem with dory boats.

“It’s not managed at all,” said surfer Scott Siegal. “We’ve been saying for years, this is going to happen.”

However, boaters said they use a spotter on the beach to signal that it’s all clear to run the boat up onto the beach.

“There were spotters on the beach,” said Terry Appleby, a dory man. “They had radio communication with that boat. The two guys in the boat were watching both sets of surfers out there.”

Marine patrol deputies from the Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the incident.