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Chaotic scene as rescuers race to boat accident that killed 2 in San Diego Bay

March 28, 2011 |  7:42 am

Witnesses described a chaotic scene on San Diego Bay after a sailboat capsized Sunday evening, drowning two men and injuring eight others.

The boat, initially reported to be a 35-foot rental, ran into unknown trouble shortly after 5 p.m. near Harbor Island. It was not immediately clear why the boat overturned, said Marguerite Elicone, a spokeswoman for the San Diego Port Authority, which oversees the Harbor Police, the agency investigating the accident.

San Diego Fire-Rescue spokesman Maurice Luque said there was no immediate indication that another boat was involved. Elicone said weather conditions had been fairly mild Sunday, though winds can kick up in the area in late afternoon.

Witnesses said boaters on the bay came to the immediate aid of the victims, and that authorities quickly arrived at the scene.

"It's very hard to think about," witness Dick Mills told Fox 5 San Diego. "As soon as police came, they began to do CPR on them," he said of the two men who died.

"I couldn't see the boat. I just saw them pulling people onto the launch, doing CPR, and a lot of people screaming and yelling," boater Ty Alicot, told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "It's pretty hard to turn over a sailboat that big."

The most seriously injured of the survivors was a woman who remained in the intensive-care unit at UC San Diego Medical Center, where she was being treated for hypothermia, Elicone said.

All 10 people on board were in the water when Harbor Police officers arrived a few minutes after the accident.

Most of the victims were members of one family, including some children, Luque said. Identities of the two men killed were not released, but both were described as in their 50s or 60s. Both were pronounced dead at a rescue command center on nearby Shelter Island, where approximately 60 emergency workers took the victims from rescue boats, Luque said.

The injured children appeared to be about 10 to 12 years old, Luque said. The survivors were taken to Scripps Mercy Hospital and the UC San Diego facility.


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Photo credit: Fox 5 San Diego