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Old 11-06-2008, 09:55   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Annapolis, Md.
Boat: Island Packet 380 - Delta Blues
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Rescue in the Chesapeake

The story below appeared in the Annapolis newspaper. I feel sorry for the skipper for having crew that apparently just freaked out.

Panic led to Chesapeake rescue

Published June 10, 2008
The woman who was rescued from the Chesapeake Bay during a storm Saturday night had jumped overboard, fearing the sailboat she was on was going to capsize, officials said.

Sgt. Ken Turner, a spokesman for the Natural Resources Police offered this sequence of events of the dramatic rescue:

Carlo Fraizzoli, 32, and Patricia Morgan, 26, both from Baltimore, were aboard a 27-foot sailboat Saturday night, heading from the bay into the Magothy River, when a heavy storm came in.

They tried to drop the sails and the boat leaned. Ms. Morgan panicked and jumped overboard, even though she was not wearing a life jacket.

Mr. Fraizzoli made two unsuccessful attempts to rescue her using a life ring and a rope. Ms. Morgan grabbed the rope, but let go. The line then wrapped around the propeller, disabling the boat's motor.

The winds and currents sent the sailboat and the woman drifting in opposite directions.

Ms. Morgan drifted toward the shipping channel, where she saw a barge nearby. She then swam to the Baltimore Harbor Lighthouse, which is near the mouth of the Magothy River.

Ms. Morgan thought she might be able to climb onto the lighthouse or at least hang on, but the ladder is high above the waterline. So then she decided to swim to the nearest land, which was Gibson Island.

Mr. Fraizzoli called for help at 9:25 p.m. and at 10:41 p.m. Ms. Morgan was rescued by the Annapolis fireboat. The Annapolis firefighters - one of several teams searching the water - heard Ms. Morgan's screams and followed the sound until they were able to pluck her from the water.

She was 2 miles from shore and 1 mile from where she was last seen.

Mr. Fraizzoli declined to talk about the incident when reached at his office in Baltimore yesterday. Ms. Morgan did not return a call.

Scores of emergency responders helped with the search and rescue, including boat-based crews from the Annapolis Fire Department, Anne Arundel County Fire Department, U.S. Coast Guard and the Natural Resources Police.

The crews conducted a coordinated search, which was based on Ms. Morgan's last known location, the currents and the weather.

The Gibson Island Police Department helped by lighting up the causeway that links the island to mainland. The causeway served as the command center.

A Maryland State Police helicopter with heat-scanning equipment was requested, but couldn't make it to the scene because of the poor weather.

In a statement, Anne Arundel Fire Chief David L. Stokes said the interagency teamwork was crucial to Ms. Morgan's rescue.

"There is no doubt that the woman is alive today because of the extraordinary efforts of all of the emergency responders," Chief Stokes said.

Sgt. Turner of the Natural Resources Police said the incident easily could have had a much worse outcome. "It was just very, very lucky," he said.

Ms. Morgan was treated on the scene by the Annapolis firefighters and Anne Arundel paramedics. She was taken to Baltimore Washington Hospital Center in Glen Burnie, where she was treated and released, said Allison Eatough, a hospital spokesman.

The Natural Resources Police did not issue any citations. Mr. Fraizzoli's boat was properly registered and he had all the required safety equipment aboard - including life jackets, Sgt. Turner said.

Sgt. Turner said the incident is a reminder to boaters of how to stay safe.

He said it generally is not a good idea to jump off a boat that's in trouble. Even a damaged boat often floats for some time and offers something to hold onto until help arrives, he said. Boats also are a much larger target for rescuers to find.

Also, all boats must have enough appropriately sized, Coast Guard-approved life jackets for all people on board.

Only small children are required to wear life jackets, but officials recommend that adults wear them as well.

Officials also recommend using life jackets that have a strobe light or glow stick.
- Dennis Jay
Annapolis, MD USA
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