Three rescued from sound after boat capsizes

Three boaters were rescued from the Long Island Sound Thursday night after their 19-foot boat capsized.

Stratford Fire Department Asst. Chief Douglas Reitmeyer said the Coast Guard received a cell phone call reporting the boat taking on water off Stratford Point.

 

“They had no VHF radio, no signaling device,” Reitmeyer said.

 

Based on the position verbally given over the phone, a search and rescue operation was started. Reitmeyer said a command post was set up on the former gun club property.

“We were the first local agency called,” he said.

The Stratford Fire Department Marine unit was joined by police and fire boats from both Bridgeport and Milford; a 45-foot boat, a helicopter and a jet from the U.S. Coast Guard; and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel out of Stratford.

Rescuers were told the boat was a short distance off shore. Crews were sent to points along the coast, but found that was not the case.

“It was flat calm, with a breeze every once in a while pushing to the east,” Reitmeyer said. “The was a three-quarter moon. If someone was three-quarters of a mile from shore we would have seen them. If someone was yelling or making noise we would have heard them.

Reitmeyer said the Coast Guard jet saw a boat with three people clinging to the hull about four miles south of the mouth of the Housatonic, slightly east of Stratford.

Rescue boats converged on the capsized vehicle. Reitmeyer had EMS crews stand by at docks in both Milford and Stratford to care for the three people.

The Coast Guard transported the boaters to the Birdseye Boat Launch in Stratford, where they were evaluated and released.

Bill Rock, public affairs officer for U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 24-2 in Stratford, said they were wearing life jackets.

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