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Boats Destroyed by Fire in San Francisco Bay
11/1/23 – San Francisco, CA
First responders scrambled to make rescues after three boats anchored near Oyster Point in South San Francisco caught fire on 1 November.
Calls to 911 about fierce flames, thick, black smoke, and people in the water were received about 7:20 a.m., the South San Francisco Fire Department said. Witnesses described the frantic moments involving the three boats tied together and anchored in the harbor.
"I just heard a lot of screaming," said Kristen Behring who routinely walks near Oyster Cove Marina. "The flames seemed to be 20, maybe 30 feet in the air. It was blazing when I got there." As the flames intensified, the boats floated apart. The smoke could be seen for miles.
"Our department received numerous calls for multiple boats on fire in the vicinity of the Oyster Cove Marina, which is just adjacent to Oyster Point Marina," Deputy Chief Matt Samson with South San Francisco Fire Department said. Witness Ashley Pelayo, who works nearby, said she called 911 concerned for people who were onboard the boats. "That’s when we saw an explosion that happened, so I’m assuming the propane tanks burst," she said. "We saw people jumping into the water." Rescue crews said when they arrived several people were in the water.
Several Boaters Pulled from Water
South San Francisco Fire Department, San Mateo Harbor Patrol, Redwood City Fire Department, and the U.S. Coast Guard all responded to assist in pulling people from the water. "We saw that there was a gentleman still hanging onto the boat, and we’re yelling at him to get out of the way, move off of the boat," Pelayo said. "But he couldn’t swim."
No one was seriously hurt, and only one person was taken to a hospital with minor injuries, officials said. "They were very happy to be out of the water," said Samson. "Very happy to be safe." Samson did not say how many people were rescued but people who frequent the marina said a group of people live aboard boats anchored in the area.
All three boats were destroyed, but what sparked the initial fire was not yet known and none of the fire victims were immediately available for comment. Firefighters spent hours trying to clean up oil, debris and other contaminants, deploying oil booms to contain anything left behind. South San Francisco Fire Department was investigating the cause of the fire.
Missing Duck Hunter's Body Found in Illinois Lake
10/30/23 – Chicago, IL
A duck hunter who had gone missing in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, was found dead.
Patrick Serzynski, 60, went missing while out duck hunting on 30 October near Fourth Lake, in Lake Villa, Illinois. His boat was recovered the same day, and his personal property and belongings were found at a nearby duck blind.
Dive teams and rescue boats from several nearby fire departments searched for Serzynski after he went missing. On 4 November, search crews recovered a body from Fourth Lake, which the Lake County Coroner's office identified as Serzynski's.
Preliminary autopsy results indicated that he had drowned, and the Lake County Sheriff's office launched an investigation.
Man Rescued after Sailboat Grounded off Outer Banks
11/5/23 – Outer Banks, NC
A sailor escaped injury on the night of 5 November, when his 30-foot sailboat grounded near Oregon Inlet off North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
Coast Guard and Dare County rescue crews received a distress call from the sailor at 8:52 p.m. He told dispatchers he didn’t know exactly where he was but could see a bridge with vehicle lights passing by, according to the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard sent a small boat from the Oregon Inlet station, and the sailboat was eventually located in the Atlantic Ocean, about a mile south of the Marc Basnight Bridge near Pea Island. The boat was stuck in shallow water in the surf zone about 60 feet offshore, the Coast Guard said.
The water was too shallow for a rescue by boat, but a crew from the Chicamacomico Banks Fire and Rescue was able to walk the mariner back to shore as rescue boats and a jet ski staged nearby, according to the Island Free Press. No one was injured.
The sailor was coordinating with the Coast Guard and U.S. Fish and Wildlife to remove the boat from the beach.
Victims Identified in North Carolina Boat Crash
11/5/23 – Beaufort Co., NC
Two people who died in an early morning boat crash on 5 November in Beaufort County, North Carolina, have been identified by authorities as Charles Bailey, 59, and his wife, 58-year-old Suzanne Bailey.
According to officials, around 2:30 a.m. multiple agencies including the Beaufort County’s Water Response Team and U.S. Coast Guard went to help find an overdue boater in Bath, North Carolina.
Upon arrival, crews found the crashed boat in a wooded shoreline near Dinah’s Landing, a public boat ramp. Both occupants of the boat were found dead. Officials said NC Wildlife was investigating with help from the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.
Officials said the couple was traveling alone and no other people were involved. NC Wildlife reported that they were waiting on technical information to find out the cause of the crash.
Paddle Boarder Dies After Being Pulled from Water
10/20/23 – Ada Co., ID
Chen-Tsung Chiang of Taiwan, 66, died from an accidental drowning, the Coroner’s Office in Ada County, Idaho, confirmed.
After falling from his paddleboard at Quinn's Pond in Boise on 20 October, first responders were able to get Chiang out of the water, perform lifesaving measures, and transport him to a local hospital. Despite these efforts by rescuers, Chiang was pronounced dead in the emergency room.
Multiple agencies including the Boise Fire and police departments responded to the area after witnesses said a man had slipped off his paddle board and had not resurfaced. "We had several witnesses here that were able to give us a good last-seen point, a good location of where they last saw the subject,” said Battalion Chief Tom Moore. “So, we posted a firefighter at each spot where he was last seen and they directed the dive team to where his last-seen point was. Then they began a search, they did a grid search back and forth in all directions," Moore explained.
A dive team was able to locate the victim and pull him out of the water after about an hour and 20 minutes, and paramedics from Ada County and Boise Fire began life saving measures. He was transported to Saint Alphonsus Hospital but could not be revived.
Coast Guard Rescues Injured Boaters Stranded on Jetty near Galveston
11/5/23 – Galveston, TX
The U.S. Coast Guard rescued two boaters in the early morning hours of 5 November, after their boat hit a jetty near Galveston, Texas.
The Coast Guard said they received a call about the stranded boat, a 27-foot pleasure craft, around 1:31 a.m. The call said the boat had run aground on the North Jetty, and both the men were injured. A 45-foot Coast Guard response boat was deployed from Galveston, along with a helicopter crew from Houston.
One of the men had cuts and a leg injury. He was flown to the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston. The other boater was brought to shore via the rescue boat and also taken to UTMB in Galveston. The Coast Guard said both men were in stable condition.