Darien, Conn. – One person was seriously injured when a sailboat with no one at the controls ran into an anchored boat whose occupants were fishing Sunday morning off the coast of Darien, police said.
The collision was reported at 9:45 a.m. about 1 mile west of Greens Ledge Lighthouse on Long Island Sound, Darien Police Detective James Palmieri said in a statement.
The 33-foot sailboat was operating under power, with a single person aboard, when it slammed into an anchored 20-foot center-console boat with three people aboard, Palmieri said.
The operator of the sailboat had left the wheel to retrieve an item below deck, leaving the vessel unpiloted, he said.
During this time, the sailboat hit the center-console on the right/rear side, forcing the back of the boat underwater momentarily, Palmieri said.
One of the occupants, who was seated in the rear of the boat, was struck by the sailboat as well, he said. The injured person was forced underwater momentarily by the impact and "suffered fairly severe injuries to his right leg," Palmieri said.
Both boats were able to get into 5 Mile River to secure their vessels, he said. One person was transported by Norwalk EMS to Norwalk Hospital for treatment, he said.
The Darien Police Marine Division, the Norwalk Police Marine Division, and the U.S. Coast Guard- Station Eaton’s Neck all responded.
Both the Darien Police and Coast Guard are conducting ongoing parallel investigations. The operator of the sailboat was cited by the USCG for “negligent operations” under the United States Code.
The Darien Police Marine Division stresses the importance of having VHF radios aboard boards in the event of an emergency. When serious injuries occur on the water, a working VHF radio can save time in seeking assistance. The Darien Police Marine Division can be reached using VHS hailing/distress Channel #16, as can the USCG and most other public safety agencies.
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