Witnesses Recall Boat Mishap - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

04/03/06

Witnesses Recall Boat Mishap

The water off Hilton Head Island got the better of a veteran boater this weekend when the yacht he was piloting sank off the coast of South Carolina. A number of good Samaritans came to the rescue in Calibogue Sound.

WTOC spoke with two teenagers who saw it all happen and took action. They had just come back from the beach on Saturday afternoon and were sitting in the kitchen when they saw quite a sight.

The boat owner was taking 28 family members and friends on a ride to Savannah for dinner. That owner says he's been boating for 30 years up and down the East Coast and never imagined something like this would happen.

David Wedgeworth and Brendan Short are high school students at Hilton Head Christian Academy, but this weekend they became heroes when the 46-foot-boat capsized off of Brams Point on Hilton Head Island, right in back of the Wedgeworth's home.

"I looked out the window and all I saw is the bottom of the boat was facing us," recalled Short. "It was completely sideways."

"The boat was still spinning around because, one prop was still in the water," said Wedgeworth.

And the boys rushed outside to see what was going on. "We walked outside and saw a trail of, I guess, 20 people and debris that had come off the boat," Short said.

"They were all screaming back and forth," Wedgeworth told us. "They were just floating in the water. There's not much you can do when you're out there in that current. It's so strong you couldn't really swim in either direction."

The boys immediately called 911 and help was soon on the way. Boat owner Gary Grossman didn't want to go on camera, but did say local boaters and emergency crews worked quickly to help all 28 of his family members and friends out of the chilly water and to safety.

Six of the passengers on the boat were taken to the hospital for hypothermia and minor injuries. Grossman says they are all out of the hospital now. He's pretty sure it was the wake of a boat that capsized his craft, but the Coast Guard is still investigating.

Grossman's just so thankful so many people came to their rescue and saved them.

The boat has been towed.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com

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