Two rescued from capsized boat in Portsmouth

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PORTSMOUTH — A father and daughter were rescued from a capsized sailboat off Island Park Friday afternoon.

Deputy Fire Chief Michael O’Brien said at about 3:27 p.m., the Fire Department received a report of a capsized boat off Fountain Avenue. Callers reported two people in the water holding on to a boat. The Narragansett Bay Marine Task Force was activated, causing marine units to be dispatched from multiple agencies, he said.

At 3:32 p.m., Portsmouth Car 2 arrived at Fountain Avenue to find an overturned sailboat, approximately 12 feet in length, with two people in the water. A boat from Pirate Cove Marina was with the vessel in distress, the deputy chief said.

At 3:39 p.m., 12 minutes after the first 911 call, Tiverton Fire Department’s Marine 14 arrived on location. At the time of their arrival, the Pirate Cove Boat had taken the stricken vessel in tow, he said.

The sailboat was returned to shore in the area of Fountain Avenue without injuries to its occupants.

Neither the boat operator, Sheldon Snodgrass of Williamsburg, Mass., nor his daughter, was wearing life vests, despite sailing in poor weather conditions, Deputy Chief O'Brien said.

Mr. Snodgrass expressed displeasure with the slow response of responders, he said. Apparently, he and his daughter had been in distress for as long as 20 minutes before the first 911 call.

The Portsmouth Fire Department expressed its appreciation to all responders — Pirate Cove Marina for retrieving the boat and assisting its occupants and Tiverton Fire Department for its rapid response, said the deputy chief.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.