Boating Accident News 4/26/2013

By Kristy Moore posted 04-26-2013 02:44 PM

4-24-13 ST. AUGUSTINE, FL Man overboard, woman rescued from sailboat Rough seas complicated rescue efforts in St. Augustine Inlet after a man fell off a 20-ft. catamaran Wed. afternoon (04-24), leaving a woman stranded on board the boat. According to St. Johns Co. Fire Rescue, "Adrenaline PM" lost power for unknown reasons and Marco Bohar set anchor before calling for a tow. Then, while trying to fix the engine, Bohar fell overboard. According to rescue swimmers, he was unable to get back to the boat because strong ocean currents kept pushing him farther from the vessel. Rescue swimmers say they pulled Bohar to safety while he was struggling in the water. A 2-man Fire Rescue PWC brought him back to the sailboat, where a 38-y/o woman was waiting. The boat was then towed through the ICW to safe harbor. Bohar said he is an experienced swimmer, but rescuers say the power of the ocean currents are easy to underestimate. Read full story here.
04-21-13 PORT TOWNSEND, WA Man found dead at Port Townsend lived on sailboat A man whose body was found floating at a Port Townsend marina Sunday had been contacted hours earlier by police because he appeared intoxicated. Police said an ambulance was called for 49-year-old Richard B. Finn. After he was checked, the officer and aid crew escorted him back to a 26-foot sailboat where he was living at the Port of Port Townsend Boat Haven. They made sure he was safely in the cabin before they left. Read full story here.

04-24-13 FT. LAUDERDALE, FL Fire damages 3 boats, 1 injured The owner of a 45-ft. powerboat is suffering from severe burns after his vessel erupted in flames Wed. morning (04-24). I heard a boom, and I felt the house shake," said Joanne Jackson, who called 911. "I saw a huge, black cloud," said a male witness. "We all heard yelling," said witness Leonard Guydone. "We didn't know if there were inhabitants on the boat." There were 3 people on board: New Jersey resident Bart Lopresti, his fiancee and 4-y/o son. Fort Lauderdale fire officials said Lopresti's 40-ft. yacht, docked along Hendricks Isle Drive just N. of Las Olas Boulevard, burst into flames around 7:25 a.m., just seconds after Lopresti had gone below deck to check on a gasoline odor. He turned on the bilge pump, which firefighters believe ignited the explosion. Fire Rescue boats arrived on scene to find the boat engulfed in flames with the fire spreading to a sailboat. Firefighters extinguished the flames with foam and water. "The crews did a good job of keeping the fire from spreading to the other boats that were close by," said Fort Lauderdale Fire Division Chief Timothy Heiser. Rescue Crews airlifted Lopresti to Jackson Mem. Hosp. He is expected to recover. Friends and relatives of Lopresti said he suffered 1st, 2nd and 3rd-degree burns on his body. Both his boat and another boat are a complete losses. A 3rd boat suffered about $50,000 in damage. Chip Williams shot home video of the flames as firefighters responded from the water. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Read full story here.

04-24-13 HONOLULU, HI Emergency crews aid sinking boat in Honolulu Harbor The USCG, Honolulu firefighters and transportation officials were summoned to Honolulu Harbor Wed. morning (04-24) to aid a sinking boat. Capt. Terry Seelig, Honolulu FD spokesman, said no one was aboard the Holo Kai Nui when the incident was reported just after 11:35 a.m. at Pier 17. He estimated that the vessel was 50-60 ft. Firefighters deployed pumps to remove water and stabilize the vessel. A boom was also laid around the boat to contain any oily material. The vessel is not a hazard to any boats in the area or harbor operations, Seelig said.Read full story here.

04-23-13 FESTUS, MO Two people rescued from boat in Festus Crews rescued 2 people stranded in a boat in a tributary of the Mississippi River. Around 6 p.m. Tue. (04-23) a man and his 15-y/o son became stuck near the Rush Island Power Plant in Festus. They had been fishing in the flood water in a small boat when it got swept up by the current.  Their boat ran out of power, and they became stuck near the power plant. Authorities had trouble pulling the boat in due to debris in the water.
The Rock Community Fire Protection District sent their Zodiac boat to assist in the rescue, but it was not needed. No one was injured.Read full story here.
04-22-13 JACKSON, TN Man found dead in pond, was fishing from boat The Madison Co. Sheriff's Office says a man has died while fishing from a boat. The department said 66-y/o James Goff Jr. apparently fell out of the boat into a pond and died on Mon. (04-22). There was no information about any medical condition that might have caused the accident. His body was recovered. Read full story here.
04-19-13 CONCORDIA PARISH, LA Couple help rescue fishermen after losing boat Two fishermen lost their fishing boat Fri. evening (04-19) when it was pulled out from under them after they got too close to an outflow gate while fishing near the Old River Control Complex in southern Concordia Parish. As bad as that loss might be, the 2 unidentified men easily could have lost their lives, particularly if it were not for the quick action of a Bunkie, La., couple who were fishing nearby and jumped into action. David Brunson and his wife, Christy, were fishing approximately 300 ft. from the 6 gates, when the couple noticed 2 fishermen in another boat get too close to the clearly marked hazards. “They went in and got too close,” David Brunson said.
“The water sucked them back, and they hit the gate. When they hit the gate their boat turned sideways and went straight under the water.” Brunson estimated the boat slipped under the rushing water after only 4-5 seconds. With their boat lost, the 2 boaters found themselves in danger of being pulled through the open gate and pummeled within a stilling basin on the other side. The stilling basin is composed of large, vertical concrete posts. Their purpose is to diminish the water’s turbulence before it joins the Red River.
Luckily, they were both able to grab hold of a vertical standpipe near the gate’s opening. Seconds after witnessing the other boat disappear from sight the Brunsons pulled up their anchors and sped for the shoreline. After leaping up on shore, David ran to a nearby office and alerted ORCC Structure Operator Wesley Larmartiniere to the 2 fishermen’s perilous situation and asked that the gates be closed. In his 16 yrs. of working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and several facilities along the Mississippi years, Johnny Dyer, maintenance mechanics supervisor at the ORCC, said he believes he has seen only 16-18 people find themselves in similar situations. He said over those years, perhaps only six or eight people survived the ordeal. Dyer said that as the water approaches the six 65-ton gates the water picks up both speed and turbulence. Even after the order to close the gates was given, the 2 boaters weren’t immediately saved from the impending danger. They held on to the pipe for approx. 20 min. With the gates closed and ORCC employees watching carefully, Brunson and his wife approached the 2 men and hoisted them in to their boat and headed back to shore.Read full story here.
04-20-13 PAUPACK TOWNSHIP, PA Lake Wallenpaupack Fisherman's empty boat triggers search Dive teams and other agencies were dispatched Sat. afternoon (04-20), to a report of a missing fisherman on Lake Wallenpaupack. On Mon. morning (04-22), the body of the fisherman was located on the Pike Co. side, said Eric Levis, Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Comm. spokesman. The victim was identified as Jeffrey Kochis, age 33, from Jefferson Township, Lackawanna Co. The cause of the death has not yet been determined. A boat belonging to Kochis was found unattended on the water near Shuman's Point Sat., on the NE side of the lake in Paupack Township. There was fishing tackle in the boat. The State Police report indicated it appeared the subject was fishing alone in the boat at the time, which was around 3:15 p.m. Sat. The boat was spotted by fishermen who called 911. Ledgedale and Tafton dive teams as well as Lakeville Fire Company and several ambulance services assisted at the scene. The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Comm. is the lead agency, being assisted by the above fire and rescue companies, a commercial towing company, and the Pa. State Police. Search was continued throughout the daylight hours on Sat. and Sun. (04-21). Read full story here.
04-20-13 ST. MARY’S COUNTY, MD Not all aboard capsized fishing boat wore vests A preliminary report on the deaths of 2 anglers on the opening day of the Chesapeake Bay rockfish season says all 6 persons aboard the boat that capsized off Point Lookout had life vests, but not all wore them, according to the Maryland Natural Resources Police. David Fletcher, 43, and David Chase, 55, both of Lexington Park in Southern Maryland, died Sat. morning (04-20) when a friend's fishing boat took on water and capsized. Four persons, including the owner-operator of the boat, were rescued. Read full story here.
04-23-13 OCEAN COUNTY, NJ Man is acquitted in fatal boat accident A man has been cleared of all charges stemming from a 2008 New Jersey boat crash that killed 1 person and injured 4. A Superior Court jury in Ocean Co. on Tuesday acquitted Anthony DiGilio of Brick of vehicular homicide and assault by vessel. Jurors started deliberations Mon. afternoon (04-22). Prosecutors claimed that DiGilio's 27-ft. speedboat ran over a 17-ft. boat on the Metedeconk River, killing Robert Post, 49, of Essex Fells. DiGilio kept going and told officials later in the day that he thought he had hit a log. Testimony during the 3-week-long trial often focused on whether DiGilio had turned on the light at the front of his boat. Defense lawyers called witnesses to dispute how the prosecution's experts estimated the speed of DiGilio's boat. Read full story here.

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