A severe storm overturned a series of sailboats on April 25 during a regatta organized near Dauphin Island in Alabama. Over 100 boats and almost 200 people took part in the regatta. The incident was reported on Saturday afternoon when the Coast Guard received a call regarding the capsized boats.
The storm hit the area at around 4 PM. Around 9 PM the Coast Guard managed to drag a man out of the water. According to Petty officer Carlos Vega the crews continued the search until later Sunday morning.
Jeff Collier, the mayor of Dauphin Island, confirmed that at least one person was found death, but the cause is yet unknown. Collier said:
“Apparently there were a number of vessels that became distressed, either capsized or what have you. They were scattered anywhere from Dauphin Island Bridge all the way out into Mobile Bay and across to Fort Morgan. It was a wide area.”
Michael Smith of the Buccaneer yacht club confessed that it was a very tragic day. He said that they experienced a lot of breakage, fatalities and missing people.
Families of sailors still remain unaccounted for. The last known person who was dragged out of the water was 18-year-old Lennard Luiten. He was rescued around 9:30 PM after having spent six hours in the bay. No other people were found until 11:30 PM. According to his father, Robert Luiten, there are still two members of their crew of which they have no news. Luiten confessed that he is devastated.
Luiten along with many other are waiting for answers. According to the US Coast Guard four individuals were not accounted for. It is not clear whether these people are still in the water, are missing or were saved by somebody else and their families have not yet been notified about this.
According to the Mobile County Sheriff’s Chaplain, Joey Turman, the crews will search for the unaccounted people throughout the night. Turman said that all the available equipment is out. According to him the Coast Guard is supervising three different locations. Two response boats, two helicopters and one airplane were deployed for the rescue operation. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources also contributed with some vessels. Other local authorities and good Samaritans joined the rescue efforts and offered their helped at retrieving many people from the water.
Image Source: The Guardian