Entries in Capsized (6)


Brothers Rely on Cooler to Survive Boat Capsizing

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A pair of Florida boaters are alive today after clinging to parts of a cooler for nearly seven hours when their fishing boat capsized off the coast of Miami.

George Verdecia, 29, and his older brother, who was not named, left for a fishing trip late Monday night but only made it about three miles off the shores of Key Biscayne, Fla., before their 12-foot vessel capsized at around 2:30 a.m., according to Coast Guard authorities.

Choppy water and high waves swamped the boat and caused it to capsize, Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Abeyta, commanding officer of the Miami Beach Coast Guard station, told ABC News.

The brothers had lifejackets on board, but had them stored beneath the boat’s seats.  When the boat capsized, the only thing that popped to the surface was a cooler.  Verdecia grabbed the lid while his brother grabbed the cooler’s base, according to Abeyta, and both held on, unable to fight the strong current.  The two floated all night long and drifted apart.

Verdecia’s brother made it to shore around 9:30 a.m. Monday and was spotted by a woman walking on the beach who immediately called 911.  Authorities contacted Abeyta’s Coast Guard officers who were preparing to depart on a training mission and instead diverted their resources to search for Verdecia.

“We launched all available assets to respond because the brother stated that his brother [Verdecia] was still out there hanging on to the lid of the cooler,” Abeyta said.  “He was a half mile from shore but the current was preventing him from making it to shore.”

The woman who called 911 could see Verdecia from the shore so she directed Abeyta and his officers on the Coast Guard boat to his location, where they pulled Verdecia to safety, less than 20 minutes from when they first got the call.

“When he came on board our vessel he was physically exhausted and showing early onset of hypothermia,” Abeyta said.  “He was barely hanging on to the lid of the cooler.  That was basically what saved his life, the lid of the cooler.”

Both Verdecia, who complained of a back injury, and his brother were taken to nearby Mercy Hospital.  They were both released Monday afternoon after observation with non-life threatening injuries, according to Abeyta.

Abeyta says the brothers’ harrowing tale of survival is a reminder of the importance of wearing life jackets and having an emergency plan in place when in the water.

“Life jackets don’t work if you’re not wearing them,” he said.  “And you have to always file a flow plan.  If they’d told someone to expect them at, say, 6 o’clock in the morning and were aware they didn’t arrive, we could have gotten to them a lot earlier.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Florida Dive-Boat Mishap Leaves Woman Dead

ABC(MIAMI) -- A vacationing dive-boat passenger died after a rogue wave capsized a catamaran Thursday, tossing 21 passengers and two crew members into the ocean off the coast of Pompano Beach, Fla.

The 45-foot boat capsized Thanksgiving Day afternoon as it approached Hillsboro Inlet when, witnesses say, a large wave came out of nowhere and flipped the boat over. Passengers managed to climb out of the water and onto the overturned hull until help arrived.

But Nina Poppelsdorf, 54, died after being pinned underneath the capsized catamaran, investigators said.

Three other passengers were taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries and later released, ABC News affiliate WPLG-TV reported.

Pompano Beach Fire Rescue was notified around 1 p.m. about the incident when the Coral Princess was hit by a rough wave after a Thanksgiving Day dive trip. First responders arrived on the scene in minutes where they found the catamaran "in pieces, upside down in the water," agency spokeswoman Sandra King said.

As beach goers called 911, nearby boaters raced toward the accident, pulling people onto wave runners and rescue boats.

"Chaos. Just people in the water. Just unbelievable," one eyewitness said.

Surviving passengers began gathering on the beach to make sure everyone was accounted for.

"We kept hearing back and forth, just trying to get a head count on everybody, and they were missing one," eyewitness Greg Oars said.

King of fire rescue said, "During the rescue, it got pretty dicey and scary because we were told there were more people. There may be people missing."


Divers pulled Poppelsdorf out of the water and began to perform CPR. Poppelsdorf, who was visiting South Florida from New Mexico with her nephew, was pronounced dead at the hospital, according to WPLG. The Broward County Medical Examiner will determine the cause of her death.

Investigators worked through the night to question the survivors about what happened in the moments before the wave hit the catamaran.

"[The] wave caught it from behind and it flipped as [the captain] was coming in the harbor," an unidentified passenger told ABC News. "He was trying to time it. He didn't time it right and then it just flipped."

Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the accident but they say the catamaran did not appear to be over capacity.

"Right now, it looks like this is a tragic accident," Broward Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Dani Moschella said. "What started out as a gorgeous day on the water for 23 people ended in tragedy."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Captain of Capsized Boat in NY Blames Wave

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(OYSTER BAY, N.Y.) -- A yacht that capsized on the Fourth of July, tossing 27 passengers into the waters off New York's Long Island and killed three children, was hit by a wave, the boat's captain said Thursday.

"We're coming home and a wave got us and it turned the boat around," Sal Aureliano, the boat's operator, whose nephew was one of the children killed, said Thursday. "It just turned the boat and everyone was in the water and chaos."

The Candi I, a 34-foot Silverton vessel, had been out on the water so that family and friends could watch a fireworks display.

The boat capsized a little after 10 p.m. near Oyster Bay as a result of weather and a wake from another vessel on the water, said Nassau County Police Inspector Kenneth Lack.

"It was a lot of people in the water," Lack said. "It was a tremendous response by multiple agencies. Most of the people were taken into other crafts very quickly."

Three children in the boat's cabin -- David Aureliano, 12, and two girls, Harley Treanor, 11, and Victoria Gaines, 8 -- were killed.

The first victim was found in the water shortly after the distress call came in. Divers located the two others in the vessel hours after it sank, Lack said early Thursday morning.

Danielle Barbone tried to save as many people as she could, including the mother of one of the girls killed.

"We just started plucking them out like ants. Just one, two, three -- whoever we could get on," she told ABC News affiliate WABC. "There was a grandmother. She was floating. She couldn't swim. There was no life vests on the boat."

She said one child's mother was screaming her daughter's name.

"It was a very bad night for everybody," Barbone said.

Richard Valicenti, owner and president of Bridge Marine Sales & Marina, said Thursday that a 34-foot boat with 27 people aboard was "overpopulated."

Valicenti said that large wakes could be formed when a large number of boats left the bay at the same time.

"That means you've got waves rolling in from every direction," said Valicenti, who has spent more than 40 years on Oyster Bay. "It's hard to maneuver your boat if you're not prepared. It can rock pretty severely."

Authorities said Thursday that until they could recover the yacht, which is now under 60 feet of water, they could not determine the cause of the accident. WABC said the boat was owned by Kevin Treanor, who was aboard the yacht at the time, according to his lawyer. His relationship to Harley Treanor was not known.

"The boat could have sunk for many reasons," said Nassau County Detective Lt. John Azzata at a news conference Thursday. "It could be overcrowding. It could be mechanical malfunction, It could be a wake created by another boat."

Two 25-foot rescue boat crews from Coast Guard Station Eaton's Neck, along with rescue teams from the Nassau County Police Department, Oyster Bay Constable, Tow Boat U.S., and several local fire departments aided in the rescue efforts, according to a statement from the U.S. Coast Guard.

Witnesses say they saw adults and children in the water and did what they could to help, including throwing life jackets and life preservers in the water.

Investigators said they don't believe alcohol played a role in the accident, but they did say there were not enough life vests for everyone onboard the boat.

According to state law, children 12 and younger must wear life jackets when they are on the deck but not when they are inside the cabin.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Three Children Dead After NY Yacht Capsizes off Long Island

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Three children died and 24 people were rescued after a yacht bringing passengers out to view a Fourth of July fireworks display capsized in the waters off Long Island, N.Y.

The boat capsized late Wednesday night as a result of weather and a wake from another vessel on the water, Nassau County Police Insp. Kenneth Lack said.  The 24 passengers were rescued from the Long Island Sound after the boat capsized around 11 p.m. in the vicinity of Oyster Bay.

The first person to be found dead in the water was discovered shortly after the distress call came in.  Two others were located in the vessel hours after it sank by divers, Lack said early Thursday morning.  The identities and ages of the victims have not been released.

"It was a lot of people in the water," Lack said.  "It was a tremendous response by multiple agencies.  Most of the people were taken into other crafts very quickly.  Tragically, three people did not make it out of the Silverton vessel."

Two 25-foot rescue boat crews from Coast Guard Station Eaton's Neck, along with rescue teams from the Nassau County Police Department, Oyster Bay Constable, Tow Boat U.S., and several local fire departments aided in the rescue efforts, according to a statement from the U.S. Coast Guard.

A total of 27 people were originally aboard the 34-foot Silverton vessel, according to authorities.

Police are now investigating whether the vessel sank because of overcrowding. Some of the passengers aboard the boat had life jackets, while others did not, Lack said.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Capsized Boat: Search Resumes for Fourth Body off California Coast

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) -- The Coast Guard has recovered the bodies of three men whose boat apparently capsized during a daylong fishing trip off the coast of southern California. They are still trying to retrieve the body of a fourth man.

The bodies were found by Coast Guard helicopters Sunday floating near a capsized boat off Santa Cruz Island, near Santa Barbara.  Coast Guard authorities said the boat was spotted about 20 miles away from the Channel Islands Harbor where the men had left for their trip Saturday morning.

One body was still on the boat, two others were floating nearby in the water.  Those bodies were recovered.

A fourth body was spotted five miles from the boat, but nightfall and choppy waves forced the Coast Guard to end its effort Sunday night.  The effort to retrieve the body will resume on Monday.

The men’s identities have not been released.

Coast Guard Lt. George Kolumbic said a search was launched after a relative of one of the men reported that they had failed to return from their fishing trip aboard the 24-foot boat.

It was the second Coast Guard search this weekend to end badly.  A search off the coast of Washington state for four men whose commercial ship suddenly disappeared without even a Mayday distress call was ended Sunday.

The Coast Guard said the four men are presumed dead given the length of time they’ve been missing and the temperature of the water, said to be around 40 degrees.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Two Dead, Seven Injured After Boat Capsizes in California

Comstock Images/Thinkstock (file photo)(SAN DIEGO) -- Two people died and seven others were injured after a boat capsized off the coast of San Diego Sunday afternoon.

According to authorities, the 35-foot sailboat flipped over near Shelter Island around 5:30 p.m.  ABC News affliate KGTV-TV in San Diego reported two men in their 50s or 60s were pronounced dead on the scene.  Another seven people, including three children, were transported to nearby hospitals to be treated for injuries, none of which were considered to be life-threatening.

An investigation is underway to determine how the boat capsized.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio