27 high school students, 2 adults rescued after rowing boats capsize in Long Island Sound

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, March 21, 2024
Nearly 30 people rescued after rowing boats capsize in Westport
Two people were treated for hypothermia.

WESTPORT, Connecticut (WABC) -- Nearly 30 people, including 27 high school students and two adults, were rescued when their rowing boats capsized in Connecticut on Wednesday.

First responders rescued the group off the coast of Westport just after 5 p.m. Authorities say the water temperature in Long Island Sound was about 44 degrees.

Two sculling boats with the private Saugatuck Rowing Club capsized as the water became rough during a weather change. The rough conditions sent 18 people into waters off Compo Beach, Westport Police Chief Foti Koskinas said at a news conference.

Officials say some of the people in the water were swimming to shore and others were trying to get into other boats.

When the people in the water tried to get on a third, larger boat, it began to sink, sending more people into the water, authorities said.

The Coast Guard joined local police and firefighters in the rescue mission.

First responders used boats to rescue many of the people, while others were able to swim ashore. Two people were brought to a hospital with suspected hypothermia.

"This was a very serious incident with an incredibly good outcome," Koskinas said.

The teens, all male, ranged in age from 14 to 18. The two adults were instructors.

Everyone was out of the water and safe within about 50 minutes, Koskinas said.

The teens were put on a school bus to get warm and were picked up by their parents, he said.

Authorities said they are investigating why the boats capsized, with the goal of preventing similar incidents.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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