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Ambulances and Fire Engines

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Aftermath of the Storm, by Daniel Sipes (continued)

Ambulances and Fire Engines

People continued to request rescues but the harbor patrol often could not accommodate due to more pressing emergencies. An unoccupied 42-foot Fountain lost its bow mooring and swung into a sailboat two boats in front of me. I could see the situation clearly from the bridge. The speedboat was still attached by its stern mooring and was banging into the side of the sailboat. I heard some particularly loud thuds coming from the two boats as they slammed together and then screams from a man onboard the sailboat. His wife soon came on the radio, “His finger is gone! He is hurt! We need help!”

Ordinarily I would have used my dinghy to render assistance, but the wind and waves were just too much. I felt helpless, seeing the man on the swim step—and no way to get to him. I shined my boat’s spotlight on the step to aid the harbor patrol in locating the guy, and also to keep tabs on him in case he passed out and fell into the water. The harbor patrol arrived very quickly and evacuated him and his wife. I saw an ambulance and fire engine race to meet them by the casino.

A large trawler, maybe a 55-footer, then came loose. The owner was trying to get the engines started—probably the only way to save her. Because the harbor patrol was otherwise occupied at the time, it was up to him to fire up and get the heck out of there. After a moment, I saw the trawler start to move under her own power. But it takes a tremendous amount of energy, and a considerable amount of time, to get a big boat like that to turn into the wind. The owner simply couldn’t pull it off. The boat hit the beach, slamming ashore. Quickly the seas tore open the side and flooded the interior. The trawler was soon destroyed although the occupants did get out safely.

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