Saugatuck rowing club scull boats carrying 27 students, 2 adults capsize on Compo Beach in Westport

Coast Guard officials said one of the students went missing but was quickly recovered from the water with no injuries.

Nicole Alarcon Soares

Mar 21, 2024, 11:08 AM

Updated 33 days ago

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Officials said two rowing scull boats and a chase boat carrying two adults and 27 high school students from the Saugatuck rowing club capsized on the South of Compo Beach in Westport.
Officials said they got reports of the capsized boats Wednesday around 5:06 p.m. It happened between the South of Compo Beach and Cockenoe Island.
Westport mom Jenna McPartland told News 12 her 16-year-old son, a student at Staples High School, was among the rescued.
"Things were going really well according to my son and then the winds shifted, the water got choppy. They started taking on water and they started to go down, but they're all really smart,” McPartland said. “The coach was out there with them. They passed out life jackets. I'm a mom - so it does make me cry, but everybody's fine."
Police said the water temperature during the rescue was at 44 degrees.
"While the chase boat was operated by their coach, when the boats reached the area of Cockenoe Island, the weather began to change, the rowers attempted to return to the rowing club, and the rowing sculls began to take on water causing two of them to capsize, throwing 18 individuals into the water," said Westport Police Chief Foti Koskinas.
Koskinas said the individuals then tried to swim to the chase boat causing it to sink as well.
Westport police said there will be a press release with a final investigation into this incident.
"This was a very serious incident with an incredibly good outcome in which we are very fortunate, and the families are very fortunate," said Koskinas.
Westport police said two students were transported to the hospital for hypothermia treatment.
Officials said this was an all-male rowing team ranging from ages 14 to 18.
Coast Guard officials said one of the students went missing but was quickly recovered from the water with no injuries.
Officials said seven other local agencies showed up to assist including Long Island Coast Guard.
Q&A of the Westport Police Department press conference is available bellow:


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