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September 11, 2013

Three men rescued off Scarborough as boat loses power, capsizes

The three are pulled out by lobstermen checking traps off Pine Point.

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Three men were rescued from the waters off Scarborough on Wednesday morning after their 17-foot boat capsized.

Donald Webster called the Coast Guard at 10:45 a.m. to report that his center-console boat was without power about 21/2 miles off Pine Point

The Coast Guard issued an urgent marine broadcast asking boaters in the area to go to the men's assistance and dispatched a rescue boat. Winds were from the north at 15 knots and seas were 2 feet.

As the three men worked in the stern trying to get the motor started, a wave broke over the transom, and the additional water weighed down the stern, said David Corbeau, Scarborough's harbormaster and a member of the water rescue team.

Without power, the men couldn't face into the waves to minimize their effect or to drain the boat. Fifteen minutes after the first call, the group notified the Coast Guard they were taking on water.

The boat soon capsized.

The three had put on life jackets and were clinging to the hull while waiting for help.

Water rescue crews were dispatched from the Saco-Biddeford, Old Orchard Beach and Scarborough fire departments in addition to the Coast Guard, said Petty Officer Kurt Hein.

The location of the boat was not clear, however, and rescue boats initially searched an area nearer to shore than where the men were eventually found, on the Cape Elizabeth side of Stratton Island.

"We couldn't find them. ... It's really hard to give a description of where you are when you're in the middle of the ocean," Corbeau said.

He said rescue crews would have eventually expanded the search area and found the men, but John Gilman and Ricky Googins, two Pine Point lobstermen, were checking traps in the area and spotted the overturned hull, Corbeau said. They pulled the three out of the water about 11:45 a.m. and transferred them to the Scarborough rescue boat.

"They were in the water quite a while," Corbeau said.

The men were checked for hypothermia, but were uninjured other than a few cuts from clinging to the hull and some missing shoes, he said.

David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

dhench@pressherald.com

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