What started as a fun Memorial weekend boating trip off California's Dana Point turned frightening and deadly when a boat crashed into rocks and sank, throwing its four passengers overboard. After being rescued by helicopter and airlifted to a nearby hospital, one person was pronounced dead.
The boating accident occurred off Dana Point Harbor, which is approximately one hour north of San Diego. Four friends had taken the 30-foot boat out for a relaxing evening on the water. Suddenly, the waves started to crash, and the boat became pinned against large rocks in the Harbor. The estimated 10 foot waves swept the four passengers overboard as the boat sank.
A brief, unidentifiable mayday call was heard at the United States Coast Guard's San Pedro command center about an hour before the waves swept the passengers overboard. Members of the Orange County Fire Authority rescue team investigated, finding the boat pinned against the rocks with the waves crashing into it. The four passengers were rescued from the water and were transported to nearby hospitals for treatment.
One passenger, who was taken from the water by helicopter and taken to Mission Hospital Laguna Beach, passed away from injuries sustained in the accident approximately one hour after entering the water. The other three passengers were also injured in the crash, although they are expected to make full recoveries.
The boat was eventually lifted by a crane and towed back to the harbor, where it will remain until law enforcement authorities complete their investigation of the crash.
None of the four passengers was wearing a life jacket at the time of the fatal boating accident. We will discuss this further in our next blog post, when we will examine relevant California laws regarding life jackets.
Source: Patch, "One Dead, Three Rescued In Dana Point After Memorial Day Weekend Boating Accident," 2 June 2011