SPECIAL REPORT: 12 rescued, including 9 children, after boat capsizes in Buzzards Bay

U.S. Coast Guard photo

WAREHAM – Twelve people were rescued from the water Wednesday afternoon after a sail boat overturned near Hog Island Channel.

The Coast Guard, Buzzard’s Bay Task Force, other government agencies, and Good Samaritans are being credited with rescuing the 12 people.

Petter Officer Nicole Groll said a good Samaritan called watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England just after 4:30 reporting that the 18-foot sail boat overturned.

Witnesses reported that the boat appeared to be overloaded with passengers and it was struggling against the waves.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Cape and a 45-foot boat crew from Station Cape Cod Canal launched. When the 45-foot boat crew arrived on scene, a good Samaritan aboard the Disco Volante had recovered nine of the 12 people from the water.

The Coast Guard and local government agency crews recovered the other three people from the water. One child was injured and has been taken to Tobey Hospital in Wareham.

It was reported the child was wearing a life jacket. The 45-foot boat crew escorted the Disco Volante to Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

“It is recommended that mariners verify the max amount of horsepower and capacity a vessel can handle before going underway,” said Scott Bacholm, command duty officer at Sector Southeastern New England.

 The critically injured child was later MedFlighted to Boston.

The boat was towed into the Tempest Knob boat ramp in Wareham.

On Thursday, Wareham Department of Natural Resources (DNR) released the following statement: “At approximately 4:30 PM Wareham     DNR responded to a report of a possible vessel in distress being broadcast on VHF Ch. 16 to the Coast Guard within Hog Island Channel. Initial reports gathered from the broadcasts were vague regarding the particulars of the incident. While underway, updated information was being gathered by the Coast Guard that included persons in the water and an overturned vessel report, the exact number of people in the water varied from 5 to 11 initially. With respect to the varying numbers, the situation was extremely chaotic and totals were difficult to confirm in the infancy of the incident. (The total count confirmed 12.)

Massachusetts Environmental Police, Wareham DNR Marine Unit 1 and the Marion Harbormaster were the first responding vessels on scene along with the Good Samaritan sailing vessel. Upon arrival to the scene, the sailing vessel “Disco Volante” was assisting individuals out of the waters in turbulent sea conditions and two persons were standing on the overturned vessel. The individuals on the overturned vessel alerted us that one person, a child, was unaccounted for and possibly trapped underneath the overturned vessel. Two officers entered the water in an attempt to locate the individual, however conditions made it near impossible to check the overturned vessel.

A private vessel operated by a local commercial diver working in the area and suited with dive gear responded to the scene as well. The diver was able to enter the water, search the overturned vessel and locate the single victim. The victim was brought on board Wareham Marine Unit 1 where medical attention was immediately provided. The victim was transported to Tempest Knob Boat Ramp where awaiting Wareham EMS personnel were staging.

The Incident is under investigation by the Massachusetts Environmental Police.

We would like to recognize and thank the heroic actions of the members from the sailing vessel Disco Volante and “Diver Mike” of Extreme Diving in Marion. We would also like to recognize all of the the first responders that assisted during this very difficult incident:

U.S. Coast Guard Northeast/Southeastern Sector/Sandwich Canal CG Station
U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod
Massachusetts Environmental Police
Marion Harbormaster
Wareham Police Department
Wareham EMS
Onset Fire Rescue
Wareham Fire Department
Bourne Department of Natural Resources
U.S.Army Corp of Engineers Canal Patrol
Bourne Firefighters IAFF Local 1717
Mattapoisett Fire Rescue
Marion EMS and Fire
TowBoat US Cape Cod/Plymouth
TowBoatUS Falmouth
Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office

Our prayers are with the victim’s family during this extremely difficult time.”

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