REPORT: Two Sent To Hospital, 19 People Rescued After Rowing Team’s Boat Capsizes

(Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Julianna Frieman Contributor
Font Size:

Two people were reportedly sent to the hospital and 19 were rescued from the water after a rowing team’s boat capsized in Westport, Connecticut, on Wednesday evening.

Twenty-nine rowers — two adults and 27 high school students — were involved in the incident while rowing from Saugatuck Rowing Club to Cockeone Island, WFSB reported.

“The total number of rowers/coaches involved in this incident stands at 29,” Westport police said. “We have determined that 19 people were in the water and 10 (nine rowers and one coach) were able to remain in their vessels.”

Westpoint police said in an update Thursday morning that one of the capsized rowing scrulls remained missing, while two others were taken into the Compo Marina on Wednesday night, according to the outlet. The rowers’ chase boat was found sunk near Cockeone Island, WFSB reported.

The two rowers transported to Norwalk Hospital were released after being treated for cold exposure, the outlet reported. The air temperature was approximately 40 degrees, and the water temperature was about 44 degrees at the time of the incident, WFSB noted. (RELATED: Video Shows Hot Air Balloon Crash, Burst Into Flames)

One of the teenagers called police while splashing in the water, Deputy Fire Chief Nick Marsan said, according to the outlet. Police, Westport Fire and Westport EMS learned of the situation around 5:04 p.m., and by the time authorities arrived, some rowers had made it to shore while others still struggled in the water, WFSB reported.

“That’s a testament to the young man to be able to have the wherewithal to reach for a phone in that type of conditions and actually make a call that made sense,” Marsan said, according to the outlet.

Police described the cause of the incident in a statement, WFSB noted.

“At this time the initial investigation indicates that three (3) rowing sculls and one (1) chase boat launched from Saugatuck Rowing Club. Each rowing scull is 60 feet long and held nine (9) rowers ranging in age from 14-18 while the chase boat was operated by their coach,” Westport Chief of Police Foti Koskinas said. “When the boats reached the area of Cockenoe Island, the weather began to change, and the rowers attempted to return to the rowing club. The rowing sculls began to take on water causing two of them to capsize throwing 18 people into the water.”

“These individuals swam to the chase boat and began to hang onto the side of that boat which caused the chase boat to sink as well,” Koskinas’ statement continued. “Another chase boat from the rowing club arrived on scene and began to shuttle people to Compo Beach Marina.”