RIB Boat Crash in the Islands:
One person died and two suffered severe injuries late Tuesday when their 25-foot inflatable boat crashed into a breakwall near Ballast Island, just east of Middle Bass Island, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
The victims’ identities were withheld pending notification of their families, said Petty Officer 2nd Class Lauren Jorgensen, a U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman.
Police dispatchers first received a call about the boat crash at 10:39 p.m.
A Coast Guard crew had been training near Port Clinton at the time, so they were able to reach the scene within three minutes, Jorgensen said.
The crew arrived to find two people standing in shallow water near Ballast Island. The two were suffering from serious injuries, but they were conscious and talking, Jorgensen said.
The Coast Guard crew moored its own vessel to a small pier at the island, then pulled the two people to safety.
Rescuers then learned a third person had also been aboard the boat. They quickly found that victim floating in the water.
When other emergency crews arrived at the scene, the victim was pronounced dead. Coast Guard crews can’t pronounce someone dead, Jorgensen said.
A medical helicopter was unable to reach the scene because of the rain that hit the Marblehead area immediately after the crash.
Coast Guard crews stabilized the two survivors on Ballast Island, and shortly after midnight they took them by boat to the Miller Boat Line dock on East Water Street in Catawba, dispatchers said.
Ambulances then took the two to Magruder Hospital in Port Clinton.
“They have severe injuries, but we don’t know their condition right now,” Jorgensen said at about 1 a.m. Wednesday. “From what I understand it was pretty severe injuries. Head and neck and possible a broken arm, and the other person had head injures as well.”
The crashed vessel was a rigid-hull inflatable boat, similar to the one Coast Guard crews use, Jorgensen said.
Marblehead firefighters, state watercraft officers, the Ottawa County dive team and Ottawa County Sheriff’s deputies all assisted in the rescue.