Wednesday, October 01, 2014

The Rest of The Story

Zebulon, NC
We are visiting Dave and Cathy at their house this week. Today we had a nice visit from Ray & Pat (formerly) from the vessel Reflection. Long time readers will recognize them, we shared many adventures with them over the years, all documented in this blog. Patty was the one who taught Libby to make pine needle baskets. Patty is a very accomplished crafts person of her own right. Ray and Pat were driving from Maine to Florida and they stopped to,say hello.
I'll tell the story thst I ducked the other day. It is very sad. I heard the story third hand from three sources so I can not vouch for the absolute accuracy of what I heard.
An experienced boating couple were pulling their sailboat into Oriental's new public dock. It was the same place where we docked three days later. The man was at the helm and the 69 year old woman was in the stern with a docking line at ready. I presume thst it must have been a center cockpit boat. When the man put the engine in reverse to back down, the docking line fouled the propeller. The line wrapped around the woman somehow. It pulled her overboard, under the water and tight up against the propeller, probably in about one second.
I imagine the man being confused. He would have heard a splash and his wife disappeared and the engine suddenly died. I imagine that his first thought was where is she? His second thought would have been that the boat was drifting out of control. That is a powerful instinct to get the boat under control. It would have taken me a minute or three to analyze what had happened, and to begin making a plan of action. By that time she may have been dead already.
One account said that the man could reach under water and hold her hand, but thst he could not pull her up.
It took 30 minutes for rescuers to bring her body up.

My heart goes out to that couple. What a horrible accident.

I can think of several safety rules to prevent such an accident, but none of them would be likely to be observed. None of us are able to maintain eternal vigilance. I'm sure that the woman would know not to allow the line to get in the water, but she might have simply dropped it, or not noticed thst it was in the water.

What happened could happen to any of us at any time.


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