Officials, bystanders rescue 12 people after boat capsizes near Cape Cod Canal

8-year-old injured
Jul 26, 2017
Courtesy of: U.S. Coast Guard Coast Guard crews and first responders at the scene of a capsized boat where 12 people were pulled from the water.

The Coast Guard, Buzzard's Bay Task Force, other government agencies, and good Samaritans rescued 12 people from the water after an 24-foot powerboat overturned near Hog Island Channel on Wednesday evening.

A passing boater called the Coast Guard at about 4:40 p.m., reporting that an 24-foot boat overturned and 12 people were in the water.

The person also reported the boat appeared to be overloaded with passengers and was struggling against the waves.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Cape and a 45-foot boat crew from Station Cape Cod Canal launched.

When the 45-foot boat crew arrived on scene, a person aboard the Disco Volante, a sailboat, had recovered nine of the 12 people from the water, according to the Coast Guard. Officials said there were nine children and three adults on the boat.

The Coast Guard and local government agency crews recovered the other three people from the water.

Emergency broadcasts reported a chaotic scene on "rough seas" where first responders were unsure of how many people were overboard at first. Reports indicated that an 8-year-old child who was critically injured was pulled from the water, according to broadcasts.

An 8-year-old child was taken by Wareham Department of Natural Resources officials to the Tempest Knob boat ramp. First responders could be seen performing CPR as the boy was placed into an ambulance.

The child was taken to Tobey Hospital and later flown to Boston for treatment. His condition is unknown at this time. It was reported that he was wearing a life jacket.

The 45-foot boat crew escorted the Disco Volante to Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

As of 6 p.m., Onset and Wareham Fire crews, in addition to Massachusetts Environmental Police, were collecting debris from the incident. Environmental Police will be leading the investigation, according to emergency broadcasts.

The capsized boat, a Four Winns "bowrider," was righted at approximately 6:30 p.m. and taken to Zecco Marine in Wareham for removal.

Boat removed from water
The boat, an 24-foot Four Winns "bowrider," is removed from the water after being towed to Zecco Marine. (Video by: Jaime Rebhan)
Diver describes scene
Diver Mike Margulis of Marion speaks with Wareham Week and Sippican Week about how he helped emergency crews find the 8-year-old boy. (Video by: Andrea Ray, Tanner Harding)
First responders transport an 8-year-old into an ambulance at the Tempest Knob boat ramp after a boat capsized Wednesday afternoon, sending 12 people overboard. (Photo by: Lydia Goerner)
The boat, a 24-foot Four Winns "bowrider," is removed from the water at Zecco Marina on Wednesday evening. (Photo by: Jaime Rebhan)
Comments (13)
Posted by: Steve Holmes | Jul 26, 2017 18:36

Great job once again. Prayers for the child.

Posted by: bluebird | Jul 26, 2017 18:36

WCVB Channel 5 News just reported that there were 3 adults and 8 children (might have said 9 children?) aboard a 18' boat when the boat capsized. TOWBOAT/US was towing the boat in on the video. 11-12 persons on a typical 18' boat...... off the West end of the Canal, sounds pretty scary to me! I want to use harsher words but will refrain due to not knowing enough about the case. I hope they at least had enough proper sized life jackets aboard and that all children under 13 yoa were wearing them.

Posted by: Swifts_Sheriff | Jul 26, 2017 18:44

Bravo to whoever was operating the Harbormasters  boat. Operating in those conditions is tough enough but add a child and CPR to the situation only makes it more stressful . Thank you for all you do

Posted by: desertsky | Jul 26, 2017 19:19

good job,rescue guys.and good samaritan... Hope all turns out well.

Posted by: Peaches0409 | Jul 26, 2017 19:28

Once again hats of to Garry Buckminster and his crew. I've been out at that location many times. When the tide and the wind are working against each other it gets pretty hairy out there. Dangerous conditions for a rescue. Huge props to the crew of the Disco Volante who likely save many lives today. Great work all around.

Posted by: bluebird | Jul 26, 2017 20:58

I saw the boat being towed in (on Channel 5), it wasn't a sailboat, looked like an 18' +/- powerboat, maybe a bowrider? Only shown for a short video, but DEFINITELY not a sailboat. 12 persons on that boat, I would say overloaded. Capacity plates on powerboats under 20' (USCG requirement) give the maximum number of persons that can be safely carried under "ideal" conditions, there is also a weight limit for persons, and gear listed (outboard boats list max rated HP also). These limits should not be exceeded, and if conditions are less than "ideal" it is common sense to limit persons to even less than the capacity, and that person limit is the max number that can be safely carried, adults or children does not matter, if boat is rated for 8 persons, no more than 8 should be carried....... 2 small kids do not equal one average adult...... even if their weight is the same (or less) as that 1 adult. Weight capacity is also important, if the boat is rated for 8 persons or 1480#, and you have six 250# linebackers aboard (1500#)  that boat she is overloaded even though there are only 6 persons on a boat rated for 8.


Kudos to all the rescuers who RISKED THEIR OWN LIVES to respond to this tragedy, Thankfully none of those rescuers were hurt, and I sure hope that that 9-year old survives! Remember, if you choose to defy common sense like these boaters, someone may have to put their own lives in danger to rescue you. 'nuf said!

Posted by: Steve Holmes | Jul 27, 2017 07:53

I have a 24 foot border and have never had that many people on board, I think one night we had 6 of us, never left the harbor to watch onset fireworks. That is a very dangerous spot especially with rough water, depending on wind you sometimes had to really lift nose to get through there, often we would not open the front end, until we got to the other side. And many times the front cover saved our butts from filling the front with wave water, so to have it open and loaded with people seems very dangerous to me.

Posted by: Steve Holmes | Jul 27, 2017 08:04

Sorry 24 foot bowrider darn spell checker. Sounds like the life jacket may have helped to save th st little boys life. And Gary you know how strongly I feel about those. Everyone regardless of age wears one on the boat. Seen too many bad things happen when dad was in the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Prayers for all especially the little boy.

Posted by: Janet | Jul 27, 2017 08:24

I too have been in that area and similar situation except I had an excellent Captain, my husband, who made us put on vests prior to entering that choppy water that meets the current, was familiar with the tides, currents, no OVERLOAD on the passengers and great respect for the ocean waters.  And a larger boat and not open-bow.   I don't like their ratio of adults to children.  Shame on every adult in that boat who did not think of safety first and shame of those adults left on shore who let that many people on the boat.   They are very lucky we have very knowledgeable people who went to their rescue!  NICE WORK BY OUR PEOPLE

Posted by: wtbarber | Jul 27, 2017 08:59

Thank you Mike Margulis!   I hope that poor kid is "ok".  That area is really bad, but yesterday wasn't any worse than the typical summer afternoon 15 - 20 knot SW wind against tide.  If you go outside the channel the waves are usually a little better.  They seem to stack up the highest and tightest at that spot and at the old canal entrance off wings neck.  The same spot has taken down much larger boats with experienced captains and that open bow four winns has NO Business being out there especially with lots of young kids.

This was from May 2012.


Posted by: Rosebud | Jul 27, 2017 09:42

Bluebird, you are correct about weight and capacity being listed on the boat.  These boaters were very lucky that a professional diver was nearby and found that child, as well as all others who risked their lives saving them. Let's hope that child recovers quickly,

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Jul 27, 2017 11:23

Where are the pictures of the crew of the Disco Volante and the diver? These folks are the real heros here. It will also give Matt Magonnagil  and his pea brained girl friend of Water Wizz kidnapping fame a look at what real hero's look like.

Posted by: tesnobeach | Jul 27, 2017 13:33

Good job all that were involved in the recuse ! That is one scary area of the canal ... praying that the 8 year old is going to be fine .

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