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Dramatic rescue saves 7 off of NorCal coast

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POSTED November 5, 2012 8:26 p.m.

PT. REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE  (AP) — Five people clinging to an overturned boat were plucked from frigid water and two children were freed from the craft after the its hull was cut open during a dramatic rescue along the Northern California coast that ended with only one minor injury, authorities said.

The water at the mouth of Tomales Bay was choppy and cold when the 25-foot boat capsized on Sunday. At least five of the seven people on board were not wearing life jackets, authorities said.

A Sonoma County sheriff's helicopter happened to be patrolling nearby and was able to reach the boat within minutes, authorities said.

"Normally, these types of incidents do not turn out as well as they did. This was a very happy ending," Marin County Fire Battalion Chief Bill Roberts told KGO-TV (

Rescue crews found a 3-year-old boy, an 11-year-old girl and three adults clinging to the hull. A deputy was lowered and grabbed the toddler, and the helicopter took him to land.

The others were pulled from the water one-by-one in an operation that lasted less than 10 minutes, Sonoma County sheriff's Sgt. Ed Hoener told the Press Democrat of Santa Rosa (

Two more children, 6 and 8, were trapped inside the cabin. Rescuers stayed with them as the boat was towed to shore, communicating by tapping.

Marin County firefighters then used a circular saw to crack open the hull and pull them out.

One of the adults suffered a minor injury, but everyone else was apparently fine. The identities of those on board the boat have not been released.


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