Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Sister Newspapers' News

March 15, 2013

Capsized 'frostbite' sailor rescued from frigid ocean

SALEM, Mass. — Rescue authorities said a portable, waterpoof marine radio saved the life of a sailor when his 10-foot sailboat capsized in the frigid ocean water off Salem Harbor.

They said David Polan, 41, of Cambridge, Mass., was able to make a mayday call Wednesday morning about a half-mile from shore and keep his location signal strong until rescued.

Polan was clinging to his capsized day sailer when harbormaster Bill McHugh and his assistant reached him at 9:25 a.m.

McHugh said Polan had been in the 40-degree water about 20 minutes, and appeared to be suffering from hypothermia. He was taken to a local hospital for treatment and released.

McHugh said the marine radio made the difference.

"He was in the water and the radio was getting wet, but we were still able to hear him," said the harbormaster. "He stayed with the boat, which was advisable. He was way too far out to swim anywhere."

A veteran sailor, Polan was practicing what is called "frostbite" sailing in his small craft. Frostbite sailing is a favorite sport of New England sailors in he winter. Sailing clubs often sponsor weekly races.

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Details for this story were provided by the Salem, Mass., News..

 

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