Coast Guard rescues crewman burned by acid

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. – A Rhode Island-based Coast Guard crew brought a tug engineer to shore early today after he was burned by battery acid.

Thomas Zurawel was aboard the tug Jill Reinauer about two miles south of Point Judith when battery acid splashed onto his face and into his eyes.

The ship’s captain called Station Point Judith here at 3:23 a.m., on channel 16 VHF/FM and requested Zurawel be taken to the hospital.

A 47-foot rescue boat crew launched at 3:40 a.m., and was alongside the New York-based tug 12 minutes later. They put Zurawel into a life jacket and brought him aboard the Coast Guard boat and administered first aid. Zurawel was transferred to a local ambulance crew at the station dock at 4:20 a.m., and taken to a local hospital.

“It was dark and it was very cold and he looked pretty uncomfortable,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Andrew Tetrault, the station’s officer of the day. “He just seemed glad to be getting off the boat and going to the hospital.”

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