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Power line sinks boat

JULY 19 — A sailor who lost his way while single-handing his 34-foot boat along a section of Virginia’s Intracoastal Waterway survived an electrical shock when his 48-foot mast struck a live wire suspended 45 feet in the air.

The power line has been there since the 1960s, according to authorities, and marked on navigational charts for the region. The sailor should have turned to starboard to stay on the ICW, but headed into a shallow creek to port, according to a report in The Virginia Pilot newspaper.

The sailor told rescue crews he was distracted by the sight of a sunken boat in the water and failed to notice the electrical line.

Authorities say similar incidents have occurred at that spot four times in the past eight years, including two other times this year. The sunken boat that distracted the mariner also sank after its mast struck the power line, according to the newspaper.

After contact, the electrical charge injured the sailor and set his boat ablaze. The vessel sank, but the sailor escaped serious injury. He was taken to a local hospital, but expected to recover.

— Rich Armstrong