Mattapoisett fire chief, 4 others rescued from Cape Cod Canal after boat crash
WAREHAM – Mattapoisett Fire Chief Andrew Murray was one of five people pulled from the Cape Cod Canal Monday night in what officials called a “miraculous” rescue after his boat struck a buoy.
Murray was one of three people clinging to a buoy in the canal when Wareham authorities from the Wareham Department of Natural Resources arrived on the scene.
Two others treading water near the Stoney Point Dike were rescued by Wareham Police Officer James White who jumped into the water soon after arriving on the scene.
Murray has been Mattapoisett fire chief since 2008. Mattapoisett town officials confirmed he was involved in the crash, but had no other comment pending the results of an investigation by Massachusetts Environmental Police.
Sippican Week was unable to reach Murray for comment.
The incident began just after 8 p.m. Police received a call from someone near the dike who reported hearing a crash and then people screaming for help.
Wareham Acting Police Chief John Walcek hailed first responders for their actions.
“Officer James White risked his life tonight by jumping in the ocean without hesitation, saving two lives,” said Walcek. He added that the strong current and dark “made the rescue of these two people miraculous. I am extremely proud of his bravery under adverse conditions.”
White and Officer Blaise Lalli arrived on the scene first. The officers could see two people struggling and heard others yelling for help. White donned a life jacket and swam out with a throw ring to two people treading water 50 yards from the dike. White pulled both pulled safely to shore.
Lalli discovered three others were clinging to a buoy about 120 feet from shore and notified the Wareham Department of Natural Resources. A boat with Harbormaster Garry Buckminster and Lt. Justin Harrington of the Onset Fire Department rescued those three people. All three were pulled aboard with minor injuries.
Officials reported finding Murray’s unmanned boat in the channel during the incident. Murray was one of the three rescued from the buoy. The accident is under investigation by the Massachusetts Environmental Police.
The boat was secured and taken ashore with heavy hull damage.