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View Full Version : 1 Dead, 1Man Missing AS Overloaded Sailboat Capsizes On James River



PD Staff
05-15-2011, 11:00 AM
http://www.dailypress.com/media/photo/2011-05/61586729.jpg

NEWPORT NEWS— One man is dead and another is missing after a boating accident on the James River early Friday that sent 10 people into the water.

The boaters -- six men and four women, all in their 20s -- were crammed into a 22-foot sailboat that left Deep Creek in Newport News on Thursday evening following a party on Menchville Road.

Nine of the 10 boaters were interns or graduate students through a program at NASA Langley Research Center, and the nearby National Institute of Aerospace


Neighbor Casey Adams, who is also a boater, didn't know Lorenzi or the residents of the home, but said she had frequently noticed overloaded boats on the creek in recent months.

"You can tell because they're lopsided in the water," said Adams, estimating that the victim's sailboat was probably carrying between 1,200 and 1,500 pounds. "That's a lot of weight for a boat that size… and a lot people don't realize how strong the currents out there can be."

The boaters were not wearing life jackets when life jackets when the boat capsized, Bull said.

They were apparently at a party and decided to take a midnight cruise in one of their boats," said John Bull, a spokesman with the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. "I have no idea where they were headed, if indeed there was a destination."

Between midnight and 1 a.m., Bull said, the boat became capsized near Buoy 9, located in the main shipping channel of the James River, not far from a fleet of mothbolled vessels. The location, between the mouths of the Warwick and Pagan rivers, is about three miles from either shore.

Bull said the sailboat was equipped with vests and flotation devices, but they were not being used. "There weren't enough for everybody on the boat," Bull said. But he said the vests that were aboard were inaccessible after the boat flipped.

Five of the boaters managed to cling to nearby debris, and over the course of a few hours were able to propel themselves to shore near Aberdeen Field airstrip in Smithfield, near the confluence of the Pagan River. The river's current at the time helped carry them in that direction.

They then knocked on the door of a residence in Smithfield about 3:30 a.m. and called 911 to report the incident. About that same time, a tugboat traveling in the shipping channel reported that it had struck an overturned sailboat, but could not see anyone else around.

Crews suspended their search in the James River and along the northern Isle of Wight shoreline for a missing boater around 6 p.m. Saturday, said Virginia Marine Resource Commission spokesman John Bull.

Rescuers from the VMRC and multiple other agencies, including the Smithfield Fire Department, Virginia State Police and Newport News Fire Department, spent more than 10 hours Saturday searching for the missing man using side-scan sonars, Bull said. The sonar technology helps searchers identify large objects under the water; the state police dive team and search dogs were on hand to further investigate anything that was picked up by the sonar, he said.

Rescuers will resume recovery efforts for the missing victim - a man in his 20s with ties to NASA's Langley Research Center – on Sunday morning, Bull said.



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The man was one of 10 people aboard a 22-foot sailboat that capsized early Friday in the James River, not far from the mouth of the Pagan River and the military's mothballed fleet.

All of the other nine victims either made it to shore near Morgart's Beach, outside Smithfield, or were found in the water by Coast Guard rescuers early Friday morning. Tyler Lorenzi, 23, an associate research engineer for the National Institute of Aerospace and experienced sailor, later died in Riverside Regional Medical Center.

Late Saturday afternoon, a man who opened the door outside the Menchville Road home where the privately-moored sailboat had put into Deep Creek Thursday declined to comment. Several cars, many with NASA parking stickers or license plates, lined the driveway of the home.

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Neighbor Casey Adams, who is also a boater, didn't know Lorenzi or the residents of the home, but said she had frequently noticed overloaded boats on the creek in recent months.

"You can tell because they're lopsided in the water," said Adams, estimating that the victim's sailboat was probably carrying between 1,200 and 1,500 pounds. "That's a lot of weight for a boat that size… and a lot people don't realize how strong the currents out there can be."

The boaters were not wearing life jackets when life jackets when the boat capsized, Bull said.

They were apparently at a party and decided to take a midnight cruise in one of their boats," said John Bull, a spokesman with the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. "I have no idea where they were headed, if indeed there was a destination."

Between midnight and 1 a.m., Bull said, the boat became capsized near Buoy 9, located in the main shipping channel of the James River, not far from a fleet of mothbolled vessels. The location, between the mouths of the Warwick and Pagan rivers, is about three miles from either shore.

Bull said the sailboat was equipped with vests and flotation devices, but they were not being used. "There weren't enough for everybody on the boat," Bull said. But he said the vests that were aboard were inaccessible after the boat flipped.

Five of the boaters managed to cling to nearby debris, and over the course of a few hours were able to propel themselves to shore near Aberdeen Field airstrip in Smithfield, near the confluence of the Pagan River. The river's current at the time helped carry them in that direction.

They then knocked on the door of a residence in Smithfield about 3:30 a.m. and called 911 to report the incident. About that same time, a tugboat traveling in the shipping channel reported that it had struck an overturned sailboat, but could not see anyone else around.




http://www.dailypress.com/news/newport-news/dp-nws-boat-folo-20110514,0,7874773.story

http://www.dailypress.com/news/dp-nws-capsized-boat,0,7929876.story

Sanity Check
05-15-2011, 07:08 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxC-dnTNYG8

(edit: That's horrible. I'd rather there was some somber music accompanying this relevant video.)

Buzz Light Beer
05-16-2011, 12:40 PM
10 liquored up people on a 22' sailboat with a retracting keel in middle of the night is never a good idea.

Sad.

Sanity Check
05-17-2011, 02:49 PM
True, but even on a small keel boat I believe the stability decreases markedly as the boat is pushed lower into the water... resulting in a lower center of bouyancy.

Recently I saw about 14 young folks on the deck a 22 footer at a San Francisco Giant's game. It was flat water and daytime so chances are nobody would have died even if they'd capsized it, but I doubt they realized how little it would needed to have heeled over to dump everyone overboard. I didn't make any comment but after this story I think I would. Coasties weren't around or I'm sure they would have heard about the basic L X W divided by 15 formula for crudely calculating occupancy ratings.

Zipped
05-22-2011, 04:35 PM
I read this when it was posted but didn't look into it but apparently Lorenzi graduated from Northwestern and was on their sailing team. I can't say that I knew him but if I saw a picture I would probably recognize him but I was messaged by an alumni from our team that knew him well and is going out to CA for his memorial