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Lifestyle & Human Interest

'Greatly Indebted': Three People and Dog Rescued Just in Time as Capsized Sailboat Sinks

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Three people and a dog are happy to be alive after their Sunday at sea turned dangerous. The group was out on a 19-foot sailboat two miles from Wellfleet Harbor, Massachusetts, when it capsized and left them scrambling.

Two of the crew members and the dog remained with the boat, perched on the hull, while the third crew member struck out for shore, hoping to call in help.

As pointed out, the temperature at the time was around 63 degrees — not exactly the sort of weather you’d want to go swimming in.

Thankfully, local brothers Robert and Peter Cutting spotted the scene while drinking their coffee and called it in. Shortly after, the harbormaster, U.S. Coast guard, police and the fire department had been notified of the situation.

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“Wellfleet Fire personnel responded to the Town Pier with Ambulance 97 and Marine Unit 92 arriving at 12:13 PM and made contact with Harbormaster Will Sullivan,” the Wellfleet Fire Department shared on Facebook. “The Harbormaster launched his boat with two (2) fire rescue personnel on board.

“The capsized vessel was located approximately fifteen (15) minutes later with two (2) individuals and a dog on top of the hull. A third individual who was attempting to swim to shore for help was found shortly after.

“Seas were reported to be choppy with notable ocean wind gusts. All occupants of the boat were returned to the Harbormaster’s Office and evaluated by fire rescue personnel for hypothermia and refused further treatment. All rescue units cleared the scene at approximately 1:29 PM. It is believed that the occupants were stranded for approximately 45 minutes prior to being rescued.”

Thanks to the observant good Samaritans and quick response of the emergency teams, the group seemed to be doing well, considering.

Curt Felix commented on the department’s post to identify his wife as one of the people on the ill-fated sailboat and said that she was rescued just in time.

“My wife’s temp was down to 93 and the boat was sinking when help arrived,” he wrote.

“Big shout out to Will Sullivan, Harbormaster, Wellfleet fire/rescue marine and landslide team and Wellfleet PD,” another comment by Felix read.

“Thanks also to the Cutting brothers. Robert and Peter who called this in and provided exact location. Big shout out also to Jake Dalby and other community members who rallied to help rescue the vessel and bring it safely home.

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“This became a life threatening situation that could have turned out differently but for the fast reaction of our community. Greatly indebted to each and all.”

Robert Cutting also posted about the incident.

“Some excitement on the Bluff yesterday,” he wrote. “Great response by USCG and Wellfleet fire and Police. Mark from Wellfeet PD directed the rescue boat to the seen from our cottage as the coast guard circled over head. Our neighbors should be thankful Peter and I were paying attention. Mark said we may have ‘saved a life today.'”

The fire department also shared that things could have gone very differently and urged adventure seekers to make sure they have the appropriate emergency equipment with them when they set out.

“Wellfleet Fire Chief Rich Pauley and Harbormaster Will Sullivan noted that the outcome of this incident could have been much different given the factors of the ocean water temperature and choppy seas,” they acknowledged in their post.

“Both Pauley and Sullivan would like to remind all boaters to be cognizant of the weather conditions particularly this time of year and strongly recommend that boaters have the appropriate communications equipment (waterproof marine grade radio) for emergency situations.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking