BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A Maryland sailing club is grateful none of it’s members were hurt, after nearly two dozen of them fell into the water.
The water rescues happened during a sailing competition. The experienced sailors take safety seriously and that made a big difference.
“We were holding on to the boats hoping for the wind to die down,” said fleet captain Dorian Haldeman.
Haldeman describes how she was thrown from her laser boat and into the Severn River. She’s 1 of 22 people that went overboard, during a sailboat race on Sunday.
The 40-mile an hour wind flipped the 14-foot vessels like dominoes, putting the sailors at the mercy of nature.
Cellphone video captured the moment the nearly two dozen people fell into the cold and choppy water. Emergency crews, and the coast guard helped recover 15 overturned sail boats.
“And what you could see was just these tiny little black specs of a person in their dry suit trying to get out of the water,” said witness Stuart White.
All of the people thrown into the water were wearing life jackets and dry suits. That may have made the difference between life and death.
Kim Couranz is with the Severn Sailing Association in Annapolis. When the laser boats capsized, the sailing-club was in the middle of it’s frostbite series, a competition that requires safety-gear.
“Wearing that appropriate gear, a dry suit to keep you dry, keeps you safe, keeps you a live,” said Couranz.
The club is now taking a closer look at it’s safety procedure. So they’re ready if the waters turn rough again.
“We didn’t have anyone with serious hypothermia,” said Haldeman. “There’s no business being on the water this time of year unless you have this type of gear.”
Some of the boats are still out on the river. The recovery teams were out Monday to bring them back to shore. Of the five boats that have not been recovered, two have not been seen since the incident.