Wednesday morning the Astoria Police and Fire Department 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.. 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 Velzy. Velzy 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 all Velzy was in the water for 18 minutes.
When Velzy 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 Velzy 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.