“The accident involved two boats, one of which appeared to be a 25 foot cigarette type boat that according to Deputies, had been traveling at a high rate of speed when it struck the smaller slower boat,” according to
a statement from Capt. Glenn White, a spokesman for the Newport Beach Fire Department.
Bennie Seybold, 15, of Corona del Mar was above the beach with his brother when they heard the crash.
“We heard a boat floor it all of a sudden, and then we heard a huge boom,” he said. “It sounded like fireworks, so I looked in the sky thinking a boat set off fireworks.”
They ran down to the beach by the fire rings and jetty but couldn’t see anything, he said.
A Huntington Beach police helicopter circled overhead, lighting the crash scene, and Orange County Sheriff’s Harbor Patrol deputies rescued the victims from the water and brought four patients with injuries back to their dock off Bayside Drive, White said in a news release.
Seybold, who writes a weekly Surf Report for Corona del Mar Today, said when the helicopter arrived, they could see a boat upside down in the water with people standing on it. Harbor patrol boats arrived quickly to pick up the people, he said.
Sgt. John Hollenbeck of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s Harbor Patrol said the boats were a 22-foot whaler that was heading into the harbor, and a 27-foot power boat that was heading out of the harbor. The whaler was the overturned boat, he said, and two people were ejected.
“Through some miracle, none of them have anything worse than lacerations and bruises,” he said.
He said an earlier account that one boat sank was not correct, and that both boats were towed to the Harbor Patrol dock while the investigation continues.
Fire officials declared an multi-casualty incident, or MCI, and established a command post at the dock, White said. More fire resources were called to evaluate victims. In all, seven victims were evaluated and four people required medical attention at hospitals in Newport Beach and Mission Viejo. One man and three women, all adults, from the capsized vessel were taken to hospitals for injuries ranging from cuts to breathing difficulties and a possible fracture, the release said. One patient lost consciousness.
“Newport Beach Fire Paramedics used the START system to medically evaluate the patients,” the release said. “START stands for Simple Triage and Rapid Transport, a Nationally recognized program developed by the Newport Beach Fire Department and Hoag hospital. All patients were appropriately triaged and off scene to the receiving hospitals within minutes of arriving at the dock.”
The fire department sent six units with a total of 13 people to the crash, the release said. The crash occurred near the bait barge.
Photo courtesy of Bennie Seybold.