BOSTON (CBS) — A day after a day after a boat carrying 12 people capsized in the waters off Wareham, the captain of the ship that came to their aid says he wishes they could have done more.
Martin Van Breems and his crew on the Disco Volante were on their way from Norwalk, Connecticut to Portland, Maine, going through the Cape Cod Canal, when they noticed the overturned boat.
The power boat was carrying 9 children and 3 adults when it capsized around 4:40 p.m. Wednesday near Hog Island Channel.
An 8-year-old boy who was aboard that boat remains hospitalized after being flown to Boston. There was no word yet on the boy’s condition, and it wasn’t known how long he was in the water.
Van Breems, who has been involved in rescues before, set to work with his crew.
“We went ahead and got our sails down, deployed a life, and dragged it over to where they were,” Van Breems told WBZ-TV. “We had two or three guys for each kid and we just hoisted them on board. So we pulled the string of kids on board the midships, it wasn’t very elegant but it was the quickest way to get all up out of the water and onto the boat.”
The crew of the Disco Volante rescued nine of the boaters–eight kids and one of their mothers–by the time the Coast Guard arrived with a 45-foot boat crew and MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter.
But he said that eight-year-old boy was still unaccounted for, and his parents were still in the water next to the boat.
“They kept screaming out ‘There’s a kid under the boat, kid under the boat’,” Van Breems said.
He said they made the decision to get everyone else on the boat first, before sending someone into the water to go looking for the boy.
“I was going to send probably myself,” said Van Breems. “I have kids, and the idea that there is a kid under the water … but before we had the last on board, the police boat had arrived, and at that point, they had taken over the rescue.”
Professional diver Mike Margulis heard the distress call about the boat and was nearby–so he responded and dove under the boat.
“I was reaching and searching through debris. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for and I saw the life jacket,” said Margulis. “I was able to pull through an overturned hull and get a young adult from underneath a bow section.”
It was Margulis’s first rescue dive.
An Environmental Police officer and the Marion Assistant Harbormaster performed CPR on the child until they reached Wareham.
“We heard once we got the people to Mass Maritime that they had located him, had got him breathing,” said Van Breems. “Every moment counts, I still kind of wish I jumped in because I think it took a while for the dive boat to get there. We wish we could have done more.”
He was first taken to Tobey Hospital and then airlifted to a Boston hospital.
Breems said they were three Irish families on vacation and were all wearing life vests. He said the children were aged 8-13.
“They were just a couple of families going out for a boat ride,” Van Breems said. “They were just going out for a fun day.”
He said the kids were very shook up by the traumatizing experience.
“The kids were screaming, crying, they were shivering, one child was hyperventilating,” said Van Breems. “We got them warm and they were all in bathing suits with life jackets on, so we took them down below and wrapped them in blankets.”
He said he wasn’t sure what the boat’s capacity was or if it was over capacity, but said the strong waves could have been responsible for the boat capsizing.
“Those kind of breaking waves, going into it you’re okay but if you decide to try to get out of it at the wrong moment and the wave rears up and floods the boat, you’re kind of in trouble,” he said. “It can happen very quickly because you can have one or two breaking waves fill up a boat like that.”
None of the other survivors had serious injuries.