Coast Guard saves two in dramatic sea rescue

SOUTHWEST HARBOR, Maine – The Coast Guard saved two lives and searched for a third victim in a dramatic sea rescue Sunday when several victims were swept into the water by a large wave off Acadia National Park, Maine.

Working in conjunction with the Maine Marine Patrol and National Park Service, the Coast Guard determined there are no more missing people from the rogue wave incident that occurred at around noon Sunday. Survivors and bystanders were interviewed to ensure everyone was accounted for before ending the search today.

The incident began when a rogue wave struck a rocky area known as Thunder Hole in Acadia National Park, washing as many as seven people into the roiling waters churned up by Hurricane Bill. In total, 11 people suffered broken bones among other injuries when they they were violently tossed by the strong ocean wave. While four were able to struggle back to safety unassisted, three were pulled further from shore and into turbulent seas. A Coast Guard motor lifeboat quickly maneuvered into place to save two adults from the cold waters, assuring their safety. A third victim remained missing requiring an extensive multi-agency coordinated search.

Coast Guard crews from Station Southwest Harbor, Maine and Air Station Cape Cod, Mass., teamed with other federal and state authorities to rescue and account for all people washed from the rocks.

One child, a seven-year-old girl, was recovered with no vital signs by a motor-lifeboat crew from Station Southwest Harbor. The girl was quickly transported to awaiting EMS responders.

Coast Guard crews, along with Maine Marine Patrol and National Park Service rangers aggressively searched a 15 square mile area over six hours using two Coast Guard aircraft and a motor lifeboat. The Maine Marine Patrol also rapidly responded with an additional boat to aid in the waterbone search while the National Park Service conducted a thorough shoreline search for missing and injured victims.

“The heavy seas present challenging search conditions,” said Captain James McPherson, Sector Commander of Sector Northern New England. He added, “I am pleased with the exceptional seamanship demonstrated by the station’s crewmembers during this stressful and demanding rescue. The case presented many risks which were mitigated with expert training of our crews, state of the art equipment, and time proven practices. While we saved two lives, we are heartbroken that the life of a young girl was lost.”

On behalf of the Coast Guard, I offer my sincerest condolences to the family of the victim, McPherson concluded.”

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