A squall, which saw winds increase from five to more than 30 knots on the Severn River near Annapolis, USA, left 22 sailors in the water after their boats capsized
22 sailors were rescued from the water by the US emergency services after a passing squall resulted in dozens of boats capsizing on the Severn River.
They were all taking part in the Severn Sailing Association’s Laser Frostbite race when winds increased “from 0-5 knots to gusts over 30 knots in a matter of minutes.”
The incident happened at around 1420 on 18 December 2016 near Annapolis, Maryland, USA.
All the sailors, who ranged in age from 16 to 70, were rescued from the water. There were no injuries.
The US Coast Guard launched a 45-foot response boat from its station at Annapolis.
Maryland State Police, Anne Arundel County Fire Rescue and Maryland Natural Resources Police also launched to assist in the operation.
Once the sailors had been rescued, the emergency services helped the Severn Sailing Association with recovering the boats.
Writing on its Facebook page, the Severn Sailing Association (SSA) thanked the emergency services for their quick response.
“As you may have heard, SSA’s Laser Frostbite racing this afternoon was dramatically affected by a passing cold front, as winds increased from 0-5 knots to gusts over 30 knots in a matter of minutes.”
“The important part is that, thanks to quick reactions by the SSA Race Committee and speedy responses by agencies including U.S. Coast Guard, Annapolis Fire and Police Department, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Anne Arundel County Police, and Maryland State Police, all 22 sailors either sailed back to shore or were picked up out of the water quickly and returned safely to shore,” continued the association.
“There were no injuries. The response was tremendous, and teamwork between all those agencies and SSA’s on-the-water team was good.”
“Not all of the Lasers (boats) were as lucky; four have been secured in place until tomorrow when an SSA team will work to tow them back in under safer conditions; three are unsecured and likely making their way over to the Eastern Shore,” concluded the sailing association.
Following the incident, the US Coast Guard issued a timely reminder to all sailors to be prepared.
In a statement, the chief of response at Sector Maryland-NCR, Lt. Cmdr. Sara Wallace, said: “The water temperature in the Chesapeake Bay today was 42 degrees, an extremely dangerous temperature for people in the water.”
“If all 22 people participating in the race weren’t wearing a personal floatation device along with a wet or dry suit, we may have had a different outcome today. Thanks to the mariners and the quick reaction and communication among agencies, all 22 people were rescued without serious injury,” concluded Lt. Cmdr. Wallace.
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