Two Men Dead as Boat Sinks into San Diego Bay

BY WENDY FRY AND DAVID OGUL ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED MARCH 27, 2011 AT 6:45 P.M., UPDATED MARCH 27, 2011 AT 9:30 P.M. SAN DIEGO — Two men drowned and seven people were taken to the hospital after the boat they were on flipped over in San Diego Bay near Shelter Island Sunday afternoon, the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department and Coast Guard reported. None of the victims have been identified. The cause of the accident has not been determined. The victims were aboard a 35-foot sailboat when it capsized shortly after 5 p.m., San Diego Fire-Rescue Department spokesman Maurice Luque said. All of those aboard, including two children who appeared to be from 10 to about 13 years old, were thrown into the water. Witnesses said several nearby boaters tried to assist the victims while Harbor Police vessels patrolling the bay raced to the scene. “There were several good Samaritans who really came to the rescue,” San Diego Port District spokeswoman Marguerite Elicone said. Harbor Police arrived within five minutes of being notified and some 60 firefighters, paramedics and other emergency crews gathered at the Shelter Island boat launch to render medical aid, Luque said. Onlookers described the scene as chaotic. “I couldn’t see the boat. I just saw them pulling people onto the launch, doing CPR, and a lot of people screaming and yelling,” said Ty Alicot, who described himself as an avid sailboater. “It’s pretty hard to turn over a sailboat that big.” Two men, described as Asian and appearing to be in their 50s, died at the scene. Four people, including one child, were taken to UCSD Medical Center. One woman was treated for hypothermia. Three others, including two children, were taken to Scripps Mercy Hospital, Luque said. The children were discharged from Scripps Mercy Sunday night, Elicone said. Authorities are not sure what happened. A crew of six Harbor Police divers were underwater Sunday night investigating what could have caused the boat to capsize. The hull was still visible floating in the bay near Harbor Island about a half a mile from where crews attempted to revive the two men. Authorities said they could not say whether the victims were wearing life jackets. “They’re not saying with certainty at this point that there was not a collision,” Luque said of investigators, but there is no immediate evidence that a second vessel was involved. The incident marked the first fatal boating accident on San Diego Bay since a Coast Guard vessel slammed into a 24-foot Sea Ray during the Parade of Lights on Dec. 20, 2009, fatally injuring an 8-year-old Rancho Peñasquitos boy and sending five others to the hospital.

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