Boating Accident News 5/21/2013

By Kristy Moore posted 05-21-2013 02:35 PM

05-18-13 HARRISON TOWNSHIP, MI Fumes suspected in Harrison Township boat explosion It was back to business on Sun. (05-19) at Roy’s Boat Harbor in Harrison Township with boaters stopping in for fuel, supplies and snacks just 24 hrs. after a boat caught fire there, exploded and sank to the bottom of the Clinton River. The captain and passenger of a 1988 34-ft. Wellcraft suffered minor injuries and burns in the explosion that took place about 3:35 p.m. Sat. (05-18) as they were gassing up the vessel for an afternoon of cruising Lake St. Clair. “Once they were done putting gas in the tank, they hit the ignition button and the boat blew up,” said Macomb Co. Sheriff Tony Wickersham. The explosion and resulting fire sent thick plumes of black smoke billowing into the air from the harbor on S. River Road and could be seen for miles. The 2 men on board, a 44-y/o Warren man and his 42-y/o- passenger from Sterling Heights, escaped from the burning vessel with burns to their chests and arms. They were taken to an area hosp. for treatment, but their condition on Sun. (05-19) was not known. Wickersham said investigators theorize the novice captain did not turn on the bilge blower, which would have ventilated gas fumes from the engine, before he started the engine. The 2 men, who filled the tank with about $120 worth of gas, were taking the vessel out for the 1st time and not thoroughly familiar with how to operate it, officials said. “They were super nice guys but we found out later it was their first boat and they had no idea what they were doing,” said Keith Cunningham, owner of Roy’s Boat Harbor. The sheriff said that once the vessel caught fire, harbor employees tried to extinguish the flames before they cut the boat loose from the dock and pushed it into the middle of the river. If the workers hadn’t taken that action, the flames might have ignited the gas tanks under the dock, which would have caused an enormous explosion. The flames were eventually extinguished by the Macomb Co. Sheriff’s marine patrol vessel, along with firefighters from Harrison Township and Mount Clemens. The boat eventually sank to the bottom of the river. Late Sat., a commercial salvage company towed it out of the water, at the owner’s expense.Read full story here.
05-19-13 POMPANO BEACH, FL Boat Pulled to Shore After Capsizing in Pompano Beach What should have been a leisurely day out on the boat turned into a workout for those pulling and tugging at a small but heavy vessel that capsized in Pompano Beach Sun. afternoon. (05-19). "The boat was starting to sink, they all jumped off the boat. The boat went down right off shore there," said Brad Burner, who watched the struggle on the water. The 19-ft. boat lost the battle to the choppy waters about 30 yds. offshore off  N.Ocean Boulevard. Janine Keish and her boyfriend were walking along the beach when they say the boat's passengers jump off. "[We] jumped into the water and helped pull everyone out and pull their stuff out," Keish said. The Broward Sheriff's Office responded. A commercial towing company was also standing by just in case. It appeared the group had a plan. With some rope, a little and a little elbow grease, they used a pick-up truck to haul the boat closer to land.
"They're just trying to get it out of the water, without costing too much money. They're manually pulling it in," said Keish. Read full story here.
05-19-13 TUFTONBORO, NH Londonderry Teen Injured After Crashing Boat Into Island A Londonderry teen and one of his passengers was injured when he crashed a boat into an island in Tuftonboro over the weekend. New Hampshire State Police Marine Patrol received a call at 12:30 a.m. Mon. (05-20) reporting a boat accident at Chip Island in Tuftonboro. A powerboat operated by Michael Peterson, 18, of Londonderry reportedly struck the island while he was transporting 6 passengers to Cow Island. One passenger was transported to Huggins Hosp. in Wolfeboro and later taken to Dartmouth Hosp. in Lebanon. No information on the extent of Peterson’s or the passenger's injuries was immediately available. The remaining 5 passengers were treated at the scene. The boat sustained disabling damage but did not pose an environmental threat, state police said. The state Dept. of Environmental Services was notified of the boat's location as a precaution and the boat's owner will be making arrangements for its removal. The cause of the collision remains under investigation, but state police said there was limited visibility at the time of the crash due to rain and fog. Alcohol was not a factor. Tuftonboro Police, Tuftonboro Fire, Wolfeboro Fire and New Hampshire State Police all responded to the scene. Read full story here.
05-19-13 EGMONT KEY, FL Boaters being rescued from water off Egmont Key during boat fire Four boaters were rescued from water off Egmont Key as their boat burned Sun. afternoon (05-19), according to the USCG. CG officials said the boaters were in the water as their boat burned, but were not injured. It was not yet known if they jumped in the water or were ejected from the boat. A Good Samaritan nearby plucked the boaters from the water. They were taken back to mainland by FWC. Emergency crews with the USCG and Eckerd College responded to assist. Read full story here.
05-17-13 PUGET SOUND, WA Man dead, woman hospitalized after boat capsizes near Marysville A man died and a woman was rescued from Puget Sound off Priest Point near Marysville late Fri. (05-17) after a small boat capsized. The USCG said they received a report of a person in the water shortly before 11:00 p.m. on Fri. Multiple residents reported hearing someone screaming for help. Shortly after rescue workers arrived, they spotted a woman in the water.  She was rescued and taken to a nearby hosp. to be treated for hypothermia. About ½ mi. from the woman, rescuers found an overturned boat, approximately 10 ft. long.  Throughout the night, the CG searched for the woman's male companion.  A deceased man was located on a beach near Mission Walk around 4:30 a.m. Sat. (05-18).  
The cause of the accident is under investigation by the Snohomish Co. Sheriff's Office. Read full story here.
05-17-13 AMHERST, MA Injured teenager released after bad two-boat crash on Amherst lake Authorities say a 15-y/o girl was injured in a bad boat crash on Baboosic Lake Fri. night (05-17) that involved 2 vessels. State Police Marine Patrol continues to investigate the incident reported around 7:40 Fri. Officials reported a bowrider-style boat, operated by Nathan Demers, 20, of Merrimack, collided with a rowboat sitting on the water with 2 passengers on board near Camp Young Judea. The unidentified teenager was transported to Southern New Hampshire Med. Center. She was treated for a bruised knee and then released.Read full story here.
05-20-13 CLENDENIN, WV Two people rescued after boat capsizes on Elk River Rescue efforts have pulled a 2nd person from the Elk River near Clendenin.  A 19-y/o man was found around 3:00 p.m. by rescuers and appears to be in good condition. A raft capsized near Queen Shoals Bridge dumping its passengers into the river.  The incident was reported about 1:30 p.m. According to dispatchers, workers with the WV DNR pulled one person out of the river earlier today. Officials on the scene say they had 6 boats in the water searching for the man. read full story here.
05-19-13 HARRISON COUNTY, TX One dead after canoe accident What began as an afternoon of fun on Caddo Lake ended in tragedy when a canoe tipped over, leading to the drowning of one person. Two men from Marshall, Texas were both in the canoe late Sun. afternoon (05-19). That's when their boat somehow tipped over. It happened near the eastern shore of Caddo lake near the Dallas Caddo Club in Uncertain, Texas. Officials from both the Harrison Co. Sheriff's Office and Texas State Game Wardens say one of the men was able to swim to shore. That's when the search got underway for the other man, conducted by the game wardens. That search ultimately led to the discovery of the man's body by early Sun. night. Neither man in the canoe was wearing a life acket when the canoe tipped over. Authorities said they know the identity of the man who drowned, but since they're in the process of notifying his family, they're not releasing his name at this time. Read full story here.
05-18-13 CLEARWATER, FL Thirteen people rescued after 26' rental boat begins sinking in Intracoastal Waterway Thirteen people left from Island Marine Rentals in Indian Shores on board a 26' Bayliner pontoon deck boat celebrating a birthday.  Eventually, all 13 ended up in the water, most in lifejackets. Captain Lisa Jenkins, who works for StarLite Cruises, was at the helm of the Sealife Safari navigating the ICW Sat. afternoon (05-18) near Clearwater. She noticed a boat on the left side of the vessel taking on water. The stern end of the boat was already submerged. Jenkins threw her boat's life ring while another crew member and volunteers onboard from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium began to pull people to safety. Jenkins radioed for help as the scene unfolded;  the USCG and FWC assisted with the rescue of the remaining passengers. The owners of Island Marine Rentals had the boat towed back and say it was in good working condition when it left the dock.  The boat has a current safety check decal and is rated to hold 13 passengers. Julia Kirkham and her husband own Island Marine Rentals and say they are diligent with safety checks, especially when it comes to the number of people on a boat. "It was nothing that they did.  It was nothing that we could even anticipate.  We made sure that all the safety equipment was on board, everything was taken care of for them.  They were rescued.  We are so grateful that they were not harmed," said Kirkham. FWC is still investigating what caused the boat to take on water.Read full story here.
05-17-13 CHICAGO, IL Pair Pulled From Lake Michigan After Boat Tips Two boaters were plucked out of Lake Michigan on Fri. afternoon (05-17) after their small sailboat tipped over and took on water. A man and a woman, both believed to be in their 20s, were wearing life vests and were able to swim to nearby boats. They were also able to tow their small sailboat back to shore. They were taken back to Jackson Park Harbor on S.Lake Shore Drive. The incident happened about 300 ft. off shore. The 2 were not injured and did not require medical treatment.  Read full story here.
05-18-13 WATERLOO, IA Boaters and their dog swim to shore as boat sinks on Cedar Two boaters and their dog swam to safety after their boat capsized in the Cedar River Sat. afternoon (05-18). The 2 — a man and a woman — had anchored the aluminum Jon boat just downstream from Sans Souci Island shortly before 3 p.m. when it started to sink, according to officials with Waterloo Fire Rescue. The boat had been anchored off the stern, and the river’s current began to pull it under the surface, said Capt. Ryan Mahood. The man’s foot became tangled in the anchor line, and he received a minor injury. Other boaters in the area helped them into their craft. They called 911 and took them to meet firefighters at the boat ramp at Cedar River Park. Mahood said the man’s injury didn’t require hospitalization. Other people in the area pulled out some of the flotsam items that were washed overboard and brought them ashore. Fire crews then returned to the scene of the accident in FD craft and recovered the submerged boat from the river.Read full story here.
05-18-13 TAPPAHANNOCK, VA Divers recover bodies of 2 missing men after boat capsizes in Rappahannock River Virginia Marine Police divers have recovered the bodies of 2 men whose boat capsized in the Rappahannock River. The USCG says a 3rd man was rescued by a resident who saw the capsized boat near his home. The resident took his own boat to the scene to help. He and the man he rescued returned to shore and called 911. The accident occurred Sat. morning near Tappahannock. Divers recovered the bodies about 5 hrs. later near the capsized 15-ft. boat. Read full story here.
05-17-13 EVERGLADES, FL Boat sinks, strands 2 in Florida Everglades The Broward Sheriff's Office found a father and his 13-y/o son onboard a partially sunken boat in the Florida Everglades on Fri. afternoon (05-17). BSO received a call about 4 p.m. referencing an airboat that had sunk about 2 mi. W. of Sample Road where it ends at the Sawgrass Expressway, or 3 mi. E. of U.S. 27.
Will Cazanas and his 13-y/o son William of Palm Beach Co. were out air boating near the Loxahatchee Boat Ramp when their boat got stuck and sunk. BSO said the 2 were brought back to the boat ramp by BSFR rescuers around 5:30 p.m. Fri., where they were reunited with the wife and mother. No injuries were reported. Read full story here.
05-18-13 SEBASTIAN, FL Three boaters rescued from capsized boat at Sebastian Inlet Three people were rescued after their boat capsized off of the Sebastian Inlet on Sat. morning (05-18), according to Indian River Co. Sheriff's Office. The small vessel carrying 3 boaters capsized at approximately 8:30a.m. , in an area SE of the Sebastian Inlet known as Monster Hole, according to authorities. One of the boaters swam to shore. The other 2 were rescued from the water by the Indian River Co. Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit. The 3 rescued boaters were treated by EMS on scene.  They appeared to be suffering from exhaustion, according to authorities. The USCG Indian River Sheriff's Office, Indian River FD Marine Unit, and the Brevard Co. Sheriff’s Office all assisted with the rescue. Read full story here.
05-17-13 JACKSON COUNTY, MS Body found, rescued Moss Point boater arrested for drugs The search in Moss Point is over. The body of 55-y/o boater Timothy Gordon has been pulled from the Escatapwa River. Now investigators are saying marijuana may have been involved in the accident. On Fri. (05-17), Gordon and 40-y/o Curtis Goleman were thrown from their small boat after they hit something on the water. Goleman was rescued by a passing boat. Goleman has been charged with felony drug possession. After multiple agencies combed the Escatapwa River for 2 days, the search for Timothy Gordon finally came to an end Sat. afternoon (05-18). "We just found the victim of this accident," Sheriff Mike Byrd said. Fri. afternoon, Gordon was thrown from the boat while fishing with his friend Curtis Goleman near the Highway 613 Bridge. "We got a call about 5:30 yesterday afternoon about 2 boaters in the water that had possibly capsized due to some debris in the water they may have struck,"Moss Point Fire Chief Clarence Parks said. Another boater rescued Goleman shortly after the accident, and search crews were called in to help find Gordon. "He wasn't found far from the accident area," Byrd said. This boating accident is still under investigation and Sheriff Mike Byrd confirmed there were drugs on the boat. "We do believe drugs are involved in this, and there were some drugs found in the boat. The Narcotics Task Force was called in. The person that was pulled out of the water was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance," Byrd said. Investigators said they are now waiting on coroner's report and other tests to give them more answers about the accident. "We are going to have an analysis made. I am sure the coroner will check into that for us. So we can ascertain if they were under the influence of narcotics," said Byrd. Read full story here.
05-17-13 FAIRHAVEN, MA Missing boater found alive; empty boat washes ashore The search for a missing boater in Fairhaven is over.
The USCG said Gary Alves, 57, of E. Freetown was found alive just before 6 a.m. Sat. (05-18). Officials say he was found walking on a beach near Hoppy's Landing -- not far from where he originally set sail. Alves told investigators he was hit in the head by the boom of his boat, and knocked unconscious. When he woke up, he was lying in a marsh. The police say Alves left work around 12:30 p.m. Fri. (05-17) for an afternoon sail. He was last heard from around 2:30 p.m. when he called work to say he was running behind, and would be back later than expected. One of his employees called police when he did not return to work. An officer found his empty boat washed ashore on West Island town beach later that evening. A cell phone and a bag containing some of his belongings was found inside the vessel. The police and fire depts. from Fairhaven, New Bedford, and Mattapoisett -- as well as the CG--all assisted in the search, which continued through the night in the waters around West Island. The Fairhaven police are investigating the incident. Alves was taken to St. Lukes Hosp. in New Bedford to be checked out. There's no word on his condition. Read full story here.
05-18-13 FULTON COUNTY, NY Search on for missing fishermen Two men are missing and debris from their boat was found floating near the shore of Great Sacandaga Lake, according to the Fulton Co. Sheriff's Office. State Police and local deputies are searching Great Sacandaga Lake for the men who went fishing Sat. morning (05-18) but did not return, deputies said.
Mark Richards, 51, and Brent Richards, 24, were reported missing Sun. (05-19), the day after they parked in the area of Macvean Road and launched their small boat. Deputies said they found the vehicle on Macvean Road, but the boat was not found. The shoreline was searched Sun. The area near the Broadalbin Boat Launch off Lakeview Road was searched Mon. (05-20). Read full story here.

05-20-13 GULF COUNTY, FL Area Man Dies in Boat Mishap Mancle Rehberg, 80, and Billy Turk, 75, both of Panama City, had been bream fishing in Bearman Slough off Brother’s River when Rehberg reached to grab an overturned bait bucket and lost control of the 15-ft. fishing boat. The boat slammed into the bank, severely injuring Rehberg. Turk was thrown from the vessel but wasn’t injured. Both men were wearing lifejackets. Rehberg was pronounced dead at 12:05 p.m. EST at the Howard’s Creek Boat Landing. FWC investigators believe the accident occurred about mid-morning. Read full story here.
05-16-13 BEVERLY, MA Four people rescued after boat capsizes off Beverly beach Authorities rescued a couple and their 2 young children from the water off Lynch Park Thur. afternoon (05-16) after their sailboat capsized in heavy winds. The incident was reported to police at 2:39 p.m. Harbormaster Daniel McPherson said the couple had been sailing in relatively shallow water when their 12-ft. sailboat overturned. “The wind was just too strong for that,” he said. All 4 people were wearing their lifejackets and the couple managed to get their 2 children — a 3-y/o boy and a 5-y/o girl — back onto the boat. All told, the parents were in the water for about 10 min. and the children under 5 min.
The 4 were transported back to land via a harbormaster patrol boat and then to Beverly Hosp. by ambulance. The hospitalization was a precautionary measure and no injuries were reported. McPherson said that the water temperature was cold enough — about 49 degrees — that any of the 4 could have developed mild hypothermia. He said the parents were likely novices and that more experienced boaters would have stayed out of the water due to the small craft advisory in effect at the time. Police and the FD stood by during the incident. Read full story here.
05-11-13 WASHINGTON COUNTY, MN Boat collision leads to arrest of FL man A Forest Lake man arrested early Sat. morning (05-11) is suspected to have been drunk when he allegedly crashed his boat into a docked boat on Forest Lake and drove away. Scott Oknick, 34, was taken into custody by the Washington Co. Sheriff’s Office just before 2 a.m. at his home. The arrest came after Forest Lake police searched along Forest Lake for a damaged boat that may have caused the collision. Police were called by a neighbor of the struck boat’s owner. The neighbor woke up to the noise of the collision. It occurred around 11:45 p.m. Fri. (05-10), said FLPD Capt. Greg Weiss. Oknick is alleged to have been navigating with a GPS device when he struck the other boat, which was unoccupied and on its lift. Oknick was booked on charges of 3rd-degree driving while intoxicated, damage to property, and failure to stop after an accident. The sheriff’s office is investigating the incident and awaiting toxicology reports.Read full story here.
05-18-13 FT. ARLINGTON, TX Body recovered in Lake Arlington; witnesses say man’s canoe capsized A body was recovered Sun. morning (05-19) in Lake Arlington. The search began around 8:30 p.m. Sat. night (05-18) after a call from the Fort Worth PD, Arlington FD dispatch supervisor Ruben Garcia said. Witnesses saw a man fall into the water after his canoe capsized. But divers came up empty Sat. night, and resumed the search early Sun. morning. The body was recovered around 8:30 a.m. Family members have made a preliminary ID of the man, but a confirmation from the Tarrant County Medical Examiner is pending. Read full story here.
05-12-13 FAIRBANKS, AK Alleged kayak thief is presumed drowned A 33-y/o man who Alaska State Troopers say had burglarized a local home is believed to have drowned in the icy Chena River on Sun. night (05-19) after his stolen kayak overturned and he was swept away. A woman who was in her yard on the S. side of the river, called troopers at 7:03 p.m. to report she heard a male voice yelling for help from the river near the The Pump House restaurant, troopers spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said. The woman said she saw a small yellow kayak overturned in the river and a person’s head in the water. The woman ran to get her husband. He didn’t see anyone in the water when he got to the riverbank. They put a canoe into the river and the husband recovered the kayak and brought it to shore. It contained items indicating the drowning victim was a 33-y/o transient, Joshua Graham.
Alaska State Troopers, wildlife troopers and firefighters searched the Chena River for several hrs. with multiple boats in water, on foot and in a trooper helicopter Sun. His body was not found despite several hrs. of searching. The Chena River is running high, murky and icy because of breakup. Graham is not believed to have been wearing a flotation device. An additional helicopter search was conducted Tue. (05-14) without any success finding Graham. At 10 p.m., a resident returned home after several days away and reported that his home had been broken into and several items, including a yellow kayak, had been stolen. These items were matched to the items recovered at the river with the kayak. Evidence indicates that Graham had broken into the house and had been living there for several days before stealing the kayak as well as jewelry and other items.Read full story here.
05-18-13 DUMMER, NH Man Dies After Rolling Kayak A New Hampshire man has died after his kayak rolled over while kayaking with his wife. The NH Fish and Game Dept. says 58-y/o Keith Whitten of Berlin and his wife were kayaking on the Upper Ammonoosuc River in Dummer when his kayak overturned at about 2 p.m. Sat. (05-18). Officials say Whitten’s wife brought him to shore and began CPR, but that he was pronounced dead after police and rescue units arrived. The department says it’s suspected that Whitten suffered a medical emergency before rolling his kayak. Read full story here.
05-19-13 LAKE ST. CLAIR, MI Boaters Rescue Woman in Lake St. Clair near Grosse Pointe Shores A woman who had an accident with a jetski Sun. (05-19) was rescued by other boaters in Lake St. Clair. She was taken to a nearby hosp. by Grosse Pointe public safety officers. A woman sustained non-life threatening injuries Sun. in Lake St. Clair following an accident with a jet ski, USCG Lt. Justin Westmiller said. The woman was struggling in the water in Grosse Pointe Shores after a jet ski accident. Other boaters rescued her before responding coast guard officers arrived.
She was taken by ambulance to an area hosp. for medical attention. The exact kind of injuries she sustained was not clear Mon. (05-20). Since the CG did not assist in the rescue, Westmiller did not have information on the woman's identity, age or residence. Read full story here.
05-13-13 HYDE PARK, NY River search resumes after body of missing paddler found The search will begin again for a Dutchess Co. man who has been missing since December 2012 on the Hudson River. Plans for a renewed search come after authorities recovered and identified a 2nd boater, who washed ashore this week. Baylin Coddington, 27, of Millbrook was identified through dental records Wed. (05-15) after being found near the Hyde Park train station Mon (05-13). Coddington and Barrett Raymond, 31, of Hyde Park have been missing since overturning their canoe near Rogers Point Boat Club on Dec. 21. Authorities searched for Raymond along the riverbank within a mile radius of where Coddington was discovered and enlisted the help of kayakers Mon., said Hyde Park Police Chief Eric Paolilli. Paolilli said his dept. will coordinate with the Dutchess Co. Sheriff’s Office and state police to resume the search. The chief said he will ask the Sheriff’s Office to provide boat patrols along the river and the state police to perform searches with a helicopter. Dr. Kari Reiber, the Dutchess Co. medical examiner, said that as water temperatures increase, drowning victims often emerge. While there is no certainty, Reiber was optimistic Coddington’s recovery is a good sign for finding Raymond. Paolilli said police are using the area where Coddington was found as a starting point for their search. Coddington was found by a kayaker on the river who saw the body and called police. Reiber said the cause of death was drowning, with hypothermia as a contributing factor. Coddington and Raymond fell into 39-degree Hudson River water near the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park when their canoe tipped roughly 200 yds. offshore last December. Within 15 min. of falling into the frigid water, Coddington, who wasn’t wearing a life vest, would have become incapacitated and would not have been able to keep himself afloat, Reiber said. She referred to it as “cold shock.” Reiber said a lifejacket could have helped Coddington survive by keeping him afloat even after he was unconscious. She said wearing a vest on the water is as important as a seat belt in a moving vehicle. A 3rd man, 29-y/o Michael Mauer of Hyde Park, swam to shore, knocked on the door of an apartment and alerted police, who searched the land and water but were unable to find the missing men.Read full story here.
05-19-13 NEWBURYPORT, MA Body recovered said to be sailor—Richard Decker went missing in November A body recovered in the Merrimack River Sun. afternoon (05-19) at the Newburyport YC is believed to be the remains of Richard Decker, the German national reported missing in November after he presumably fell into the chilly river and and drowned, according to police and yc employees. Newburyport police Lt. Richard Siemasko said the body, which was heavily decomposed, was transported to state’s medical examiner’s office for DNA testing. Making the process more difficult for examiners is the absence of teeth or fingerprints. Police are working on the assumption  that it’s Decker, adding it could be many weeks before the identity of the body is known. According to the yc, at around 2:40 p.m. a member found the body washed up against the docks. Police cordoned off the area where the body was found and called state police, harbormaster and USCG, treating the marina like a crime scene. Two CG personnel eventually hoisted the remains out of the water. It was only last week that Decker’s yacht, a 37-ft. Endeavor, was placed up for auction by city officials. No relatives came to claim ownership of the boat, leading Newburyport officials to take the unusual step of placing a person’s property up for bid. Decker, 51, bought the sloop last fall with the intention of living on it. He was reported missing 6 months ago when the CG discovered his swamped dinghy tied to the boat’s stern near the mouth of the fast-flowing Merrimack River. His dog was tied to a park post across the river. Officials do not know exactly what happened to Decker, but they theorize he fell overboard and drowned when his dinghy line became entangled in the sailboat’s propeller and he attempted to free it while en route to a dock to retrieve his dog. Read full story here.

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