Westport boating mishap: 1 scull missing, 2 rowers treated and released

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WESTPORT — After a boating incident that left one vessel missing and two rowers requiring hospital treatment, Westport Police Marine Division continued its investigation.

Officials reported this morning that while two of the capsized rowing sculls were recovered and secured at Compo Marina last night, one remains unaccounted for.

The sunken “chase boat” was located submerged near Cockenoe Island and is scheduled to be retrieved this afternoon.

Both rowers who were treated at Norwalk Hospital for cold exposure following the accident have been released.

Authorities confirmed the total count of rowers and coaches involved in the incident to be 29, with 19 individuals ending up in the water and 10 managing to stay aboard their vessels.

The ongoing investigation will examine weather advisories in effect at the time, life jacket availability, the experience level of the rowers and coaches, and the suitability of the sculls and chase boat.

Westport Police aim to use the findings of the investigation to prevent similar incidents in the future, as emphasized by the Police Chief.

The incident unfolded yesterday evening when three rowing sculls and one chase boat from Saugatuck Rowing Club encountered trouble near Cockenoe Island as weather conditions deteriorated.

Two sculls capsized, plunging 18 rowers into the frigid waters.

Attempts to hang onto the chase boat led to its sinking, prompting another club boat to rescue and transport the stranded individuals to Compo Beach Marina.

At the time of the mishap, the air and water temperatures were recorded at approximately 40 and 44 degrees, respectively.

Westport emergency services, along with multiple regional marine and emergency medical units, responded to the chaotic scene, where youths were found swimming to shore, and some were still in the water.

A total of 29 club members were involved, and all have been accounted for.

The Westport Board of Education provided transportation for those at Compo Beach back to the rowing club.

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