Body of missing Westerly, R.I., boater recovered from sunken vessel Priceless

Northeast Atlantic Coast Guard NewsNEW HAVEN, Conn. – Emergency responders recovered the body of the missing Westerly, R.I., boater from the sunken vessel Priceless in Fisher’s Island Sound, N.Y., Monday morning.

Divers from the Mystic, Conn., and Groton, Conn., fire departments were able to access the cabin of the sunken vessel to recover the missing woman after an extensive search to find her by Coast Guard and partner agency responders.

Sunday afternoon at 2:35 p.m., a Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound, Conn., watchstander received a distress call from a passenger aboard the 50-foot motor-vessel Priceless, stating that the vessel had struck rocks in Fisher’s Island Sound and was taking on water with 10 people and a dog aboard. Shortly after the distress call was made, the vessel sank. Nine of the 10 passengers abandoned ship and one was reported missing.

A Good Samaritan boater, from Woodstock, Conn., aboard vessel, Salty Dog, was boating in the area at the time of the distress call and rescued the nine people and dog from the water. Coast Guard Station New London, Conn., rescue boats, Mystic Fire Department marine units and a Seatow vessel responded to the incident and immediately began searching for the missing person. Divers from Mystic and Groton fire departments were also called to assist in the search.

A Station New London rescue boat crew continued to search for the missing person through the night with rescue helicopters from Coast Guard Air Station, Cape Cod, Mass., and the Coast Guard 87-foot patrol boat Shearwater, searching an area of more than 300 square miles.

The Priceless and its passengers departed from Westerly, R.I., where the vessel is registered. The nine people and dog were rescued uninjured and examined by emergency medical technicians on shore at Noank, Conn.

“The Good Samaritan was instrumental in safely rescuing the nine people that abandoned the vessel as it was sinking.” said Lt. Jeff Janaro, public affairs officer for Sector Long Island Sound. “Sadly, this tragedy is a reminder of the importance of practicing safe boating”.

Sector Long Island Sound pollution responders are investigating the environmental impact of the sunken vessel and will work to mitigate any found.

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