Man overboard

Fri, 01/13/2023 - 10:45am

It didn’t take long for the news to spread on Block Island that a man jumped off of the ferry on Tuesday, Jan. 10 as the boat was heading from the island to Point Judith. “I just got a text,” was the utterance of one person whose spouse was on the boat.
The boat left the island at 2:30 p.m., with 74 adults and two children on board. When it was two to three miles southwest of the Pt. Judith Harbor of Refuge, island resident and passenger Jordan Ryan saw a man jump into the water from the “02 deck.” According to Interstate Navigation spokesman and Port Captain Chris Myers, Ryan ran to the pilot house to alert the captain. Captain Steve Kimball turned the boat around while initiating the “man overboard recovery procedure.”
The ferry was back on-scene within minutes and as the vessel maneuvered its way alongside the victim, crew members threw the man a life ring buoy and lowered the MOB ladder. Myers told The Times that the man was able to climb up the ladder under his own power.
Once the crew had him on board, they quickly wrapped him in blankets, took him to a warm place, and started treating him for hypothermia. The water in Block Island Sound that day was estimated to be approximately 45 degrees.
“Interstate Navigation would like to recognize and applaud the heroic actions of our ferry captain and crew and the Block Island resident who assisted. Without the early actions of the ferry crew, the outcome of this event could have been very different and possibly tragic,” said Myers. Participating crew members were, besides Kimball, Mates Don Rooney and Colin Waitkun, Engineer Nick Maloney, and Deckhands John St. Coeur, Sam Crawford, and Steve Palmer.
When the ferry reached the mainland at 3:35 p.m., the patient was taken by ambulance to the hospital for treatment and evaluation.
Interstate Navigation conducts “man overboard” training drills regularly to be prepared for such events. In the winter, training takes place at least once per month and may be held as frequently as once per week in the summer.