Gary Sabatinelli stared at his boat floating away from him, trying to fight the current but only being pulled farther away.
Sabatinelli, his daughter and two of their friends drifted with the current for nearly two hours last Thursday morning in Cape CodBay near SandyNeckBeach in Barnstable after they were pulled away from their boat during a swim in 6- to 12-foot deep water, according to The Boston Globe.
The crew of five were catching some last-minute fun from a vacation around noontime aboard their vessel (which was not identified) when one of his daughter’s friends jumped into the water and got caught in the current. She made it back, only to jump back in. Sabatinelli jumped in, but could not rescue the teen. His daughter and her friend then jumped in with some flotation devices. All were wearing life jackets, according to the report. The remaining teen on the boat could neither swim nor operate the boat, so she called 911.
The call was relayed to Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England in Woods Hole, Mass. A helicopter was diverted from Air Station Cape Cod and a 47-foot motor lifeboat was deployed from Station Cape Cod Canal, according to a report in The Register of Barnstable. The boat and the helicopter spotted Sabatinelli and the teens floating in the water after his daughter waved to them with a life ring at about 2:30 p.m. Robert Williams, a rescue diver, was lowered to the scene and they were hauled in.
“I still had a tough time swimming through the current,” Williams told The Boston Globe. He described the current as “when you see a reporter standing in the middle of a hurricane, that’s how it feels. I think people underestimate that.”
Sabatinelli’s boat was towed back to shore and all of the teens got back safely, However, he said he’ll think twice before jumping into the water again.
— Elizabeth Ellis