GLOUCESTER — Fire Chief Eric Smith, Police Chief Edward Conley, Harbormaster T.J. Ciarametaro and United States Coast Guard Station Gloucester Commander John Roberts report that a multi-agency effort led to the rescue of two men who had been swept into the water this weekend while fishing.
At approximately 7:15 p.m. Saturday, May 22, the Gloucester Fire Department received a call from concerned citizens that multiple adults were fishing on the rocks at Rafe’s Chasm when a wave washed two men into the water.
Two bystanders reportedly jumped into the water to rescue the two who had been swept into the water. The two rescuers were able to pull one of the adults back to the rocky shoreline in pounding surf, while the second adult was swept away from the shore.
First responders arrived on scene moments later and found the individual approximately 500 feet from shore, clinging to a lobster buoy. Vessels from the Gloucester harbormaster’s office and U.S. Coast Guard Station Gloucester quickly arrived on scene and pulled the individual out of the water.
“This rescue was a terrific example of a joint effort between the police, fire and harbormaster’s office as well as the Coast Guard,” Chief Smith said. “Both land-side and water-side, the crews responding were quick to act and knew exactly what to do, and it was great teamwork all around. We also commend the bystanders who jumped into the water, as well as those who called for help.”
The individual who had been clinging to the buoy was transported by boat to the harbormaster’s dock, where he was treated and transported to a nearby hospital by Gloucester Fire paramedics. The other individual who had fallen into the water was extricated through the woods and transported to a nearby hospital by paramedics.
The two rescuers were treated at the shore but not transported.
None of the injuries sustained as a result of the incident were life-threatening.
“Time is of the essence whenever an incident like this occurs, and all parties involved showed quick-thinking and highly effective rescue techniques,” Chief Conley said. “We urge all residents to use extreme caution whenever fishing near the shore and to always be aware of your surroundings.”
The National Park Service offers the following safety tips for fishing or operating a fishing boat:
- Always wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets when on, in or near the water.
- Designate a “water watcher” to be responsible for keeping track of children in your group.
- Only cast in areas where fishing is permitted.
- Find shelter if thunderstorms form, and seek higher ground if water levels rise.
- Consult local tide tables and pay attention to tidal behavior.
- Be aware of unseen water hazards and use caution when walking or wading in the water.
- Never fish or operate a fishing boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol.