Coast Guard crews handled a multitude of recreational and commercial boats in distress last weekend, some proving fatal.
Off New York’s Long Island, a commercial fishing boat capsized Sunday in choppy waters near an inlet off the Hamptons, killing an 85-year-old man who was tossed overboard, officials said.
Authorities managed to rescue a crew member, Scott Finne, 42, who was tossed from the 45-foot trawler and found clinging to a flotation device. But they were unable to save the older man, Stian Stiansen.
Witnesses said the boat, the Pauline IV, was just short of Shinnecock Inlet, still in the ocean attempting to plow over the rough seas to make it through to the bay, shortly after 2 p.m. when disaster struck.
“I saw it go over,” said Ron Bendfelt, 67, of Patchogue, who was camping in Shinnecock East County Park. “I noticed the boat was out there, and the inlet was really kicking hard. The next thing I know, I look, and the boat is gone. The waves were really high, 6 or 7 feet. One of them flipped it over.”
To the south, a Florida family’s plan of spending last Thursday night on their boat changed suddenly with the sound of a smoke alarm. Four adults, a 17-month-old and two dogs were on board the 33-foot Sea Ray cruiser in the waters off the Bay Harbor Islands when the smoke alarm sounded.
“The smoke alarm went off and when we went inside to check the smoke was coming out of the side of the boat. We went inside right away and we got the kid out and we jumped,” Raul Varela told Miami’s CBS4.
And, in a case of what can only be described as poor judgement, a South Carolina family found themselves in trouble when they took their 1-year-old son for a boat ride on the flood-swollen Congaree River last week.
"We were driving around for about an hour and the motor went out. We tried over and over to get it started but every time I'd put it in drive it would cut back off," Joseph Wilkinson told WLTX News. "It's not usually this rough. I saw one other boat out there and that should have been a sign there weren't any other boats out here."