Hearing Monday On Newport Helicopter Lawsuit

Apr 16, 2015

A hearing is scheduled Monday in Federal Court in Eugene on a lawsuit filed by Newport Fisherman's Wives against the Coast Guard. The suit was filed after the agency said they would close the Newport rescue helicopter facility at the end of last year. That closure was put off until January 2016.

The plaintiffs are asking Judge Michael McShane to suspend their lawsuit since the Coast Guard may still close the helicopter station. The coast guard has asked for the case to be dismissed.

Ginny Goblirsch is with Newport Fishermen's wives. She says there's still uncertainly about whether the Coast Guard will try again to close the facility. If the Newport helicopter is shut down, the closest rescue is in North Bend. Goblirsch says the 50 degree water is deadly for anyone who falls in.

"You probably have no more than 30 mintues before you either die or the onset of hypothermia creates a situation where you can't help yourself and you just go underwater and drown."

It takes the helicopter from North Bend at least 45 minutes to get to Newport, Goblirsch says. The hearing is Monday morning in Federal Court in Eugene.

More information on the case at Port of Newport website