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Old 07-07-2012, 06:28 PM   #1
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City: Hailing Port: Charleston, SC
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Moonstruck
Vessel Model: Sabre 42 Hardtop Express
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 8,235
Another boat flip

This is a truly tragic situation where the guy tried to do right, but things went from bad to worse. I am very familiar with the area where the accident happened. There is only about one to one and a half miles of fetch for the wind in that area. The wind was blowing against the current in the channel, but the flow is down, it is a lake, I would estimate the current at less than 1 knot.

The Lake Shore area that they were returning is where my son stores his 26' Boston Whaler. I have built many condos in that development, and we kept a boat there for a few years. A friend and sometimes business partner of mine developed the Windward Point development mentioned just across the lake. Those familiar with the Privateer Yacht Club have probably raced sail boats in that area many times. It is usually very placid in the coves.

That being said, here is a cut and paste article from our internet newspaper. I don't think the publisher, John Wilson, will mind my posting this.

Boaters, Neighbors Made Valiant Effort In Storm To Save Those On Capsized Pontoon Boat
Friday, July 06, 2012
A bass fisherman and several neighbors at Windward Cove off Webb Road on Lake Chickamauga made a valiant effort in a fierce storm to rescue 12 people on a capsized pontoon boat Thursday night.

The efforts saved 10 people on the boat as well as a puppy, but a 10-year-old girl and her grandmother, who got trapped below the overturned boat, did not survive.

Roger Forgey, a hospital executive who lives at Paradise Cove, said he was on his dock around 8 p.m. when he felt a breeze and then "the wind all of a sudden was unbelievable.

It almost knocked me off the dock."
He said about that time a young man pulled up in a fishing boat and asked if he could tie up there until the storm passed. He said he told the fisherman, Ben Brooks, he was welcome to do so and he could come up to his house to wait out the storm.

Mr. Forgey said by this time his dock was rising up and it appeared it might be toppled. He said, "We don't get waves like that back in the cove. It was a very unusual storm with the wind coming in from the north."

He said a short time earlier he had seen a pontoon boat tied up in the cove about 100 feet from his dock. "They were swimming and playing. I could see them and hear them. They were having a great time."

As the storm worsened and while still at the dock with the fisherman, he said he looked up and saw that the pontoon was going in circles in the cove. He said it speeded up and was headed back across the lake toward the main channel. He later found out they were headed toward Lakeshore, where the pontoon had started its trip. But he said as it reached the channel, the waves there were even stronger.

There was a wall of wind and waves that caught up the pontoon "and it came out of the water and went straight up. Then it flipped right on over," Mr. Forgey said.

He said he had seen those on the pontoon earlier putting on life jackets as they were leaving the cove and he saw that many on the boat jumped or fell into the water before it was completely flipped.

The former medic and trauma nurse practitioner who started the Life Force helicopter program said he hollered at Mr. Brooks, "The boat with the kids on it just turned over. We need to get out there." He decided his best option to help was to take out one of his jet skis because that would allow him to get closer to the overturned vessel. The storm was still raging, but he said, "I figured that if it did topple over that I could cling to it and stay afloat."

He said Mr. Brooks did brave the storm and got the bass boat out to the toppled pontoon - about 200 yards from shore. He said it had been about 300 yards off shore when it flipped.

Mr. Forgey said he was out with the father of the girl and was told that she was still under. The grandmother was already being rescued when he arrived. He said the father was able to pry the girl from under the pontoon and he was able to get her to the rescuers on shore. But she had been underwater for up to 10 minutes.

A neighbor, Mike Brown and his son, also had a boat and went out to the pontoon to help in the rescue. They got one of the mothers and one of the children out of the water."

The neighbors in Windward Cove took turns trying to revive the girl and grandmother on shore until medics finally arrived.

Mr. Forgey praised the actions of Ben Brooks and the Browns, saying, "What he did was pretty heroic. He risked his own life taking that small boat out in that storm the way he did."

He also praised his neighbors, including the Browns, saying, "They were heroic in their own right doing CPR, taking care of all the families and risking their own safety as well as the father of the 10-year-old and son of the grandmother for staying and making sure everyone was out of that boat before he would allow his own rescue. He lost his daughter and his mother, but he did all he could have done."
Don on Moonstruck
Sabre 42 Hardtop Express & Blackfin 25 CC
When cruising life is simpler, but on a grander scale (author unknown)
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