Three fishermen were rescued Tuesday after their boat sank off the coast of Scituate, Massachusetts.
There was little warning. One second, the 55-foot fishing boat was fine; the next, it was rapidly sinking.
“The whole boat flipped over thrown in the water, and I remember swimming away from the boat because I didn’t want to get pulled down in the suction,” fisherman Joe Roderick said Wednesday from his hospital bed.
The boat started taking on water Tuesday afternoon.
“I swam to the hose, wrapped my arms around the hose so I wouldn’t go anywhere, and we were there for like 45 minutes,” Roderick recalled.
He said it all happened so fast that they didn’t have time to call a Mayday.
“We were talking to each other to prevent anyone from passing out, or keep kicking your feet,” he added. “We were in the water making small talk, keep each other alert, and the longer I was there, chest, legs kicking, it was pretty painful.”
What the fishermen didn’t know was that Pam Harght was looking out the window of her Marshfield home while on a Zoom call at the same time the boat started experiencing trouble.
“Something looked really off,” Harght said. “It looked like it was disappearing.”
Harght comes from a family of fishermen, and while she assumed someone had already called 911, she knew she had to call, too.
“For my own piece of mind, I am going to call, and if I’m the 10th or 20th caller, at least I know people are coming,” she said. “I made a phone call, and it turned out to be a very important phone call.”
It was so important because Harght was the only one who knew something was wrong, the only person to alert authorities. Emergency crews immediately started racing towards where Harght last saw the boat.
“We went out there not knowing what to expect,” Scituate Fire Chief John Murphy said. “We got out there and we saw one man raise his hand, and we get up there, ‘We have a victim here who is alive!'”
Murphy says the seas were rough, and the water full of diesel, complicating the rescue. With help from Scituate Police and the Scituate Harbormaster, all three were rescued.
“You could see it in their eyes, they were ready, they were almost done,” Murphy said.
The chief credited Harght with calling 911, allowing rescue crews the chance to save the men.
“Two or three minutes made a difference,” he said.
Roderick says his lungs and sinuses burn from the diesel, but he is feels fortunate to be alive.
“Only God knows why this happened, because this boat went over too fast,” he said. “To be fine one minute, and three minutes later, in the water trying to swim to save your own life, it was traumatic.”