The regatta storm which hit the coast of Mobile, Alabama, Saturday afternoon has left two dead and five missing. The Coast Guard is still searching the area after the ill-fated boat race.
The 57th Dauphin Island Regatta in Mobile Bay was sponsored and organized by the Fairhope Yacht Club, an annual event.
Sudden 70 mile-per-hour winds made serious trouble on an otherwise nice day for those participating. Dozens of boats were caught and capsized as the storm hit, throwing sailors into the water.
Waves rising as tall as 10 feet were part of the sudden storm which passed quickly, but left its mark in the memories of all who witnessed it.
Contestant Kevin Maurin recalled how quickly everything changed, “It was a great day, everybody on the boat was having fun. All of a sudden, within seconds, boom.”
According to the Internernational Business Times, Mayor Jeff Collier of Dauphin Island said that among those caught in the regatta storm were around 200 sailors manning 100 boats. The 18-mile race to the finish line quickly became a race to save as many sailors as possible and get them on dry land.
So far rescue personnel had pulled around 40 survivors from the water as of Sunday, scouring an area of over 2,500 miles. The Coast Guard has sent one large patrol boat, four smaller boats, and several helicopters to help with the search.
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) April 27, 2015
U.S. Coast Guard Captain Duke Walker has shared his deepest condolences, “Our guys worked hard and long to rescue people. This is an awful tragedy and our hearts go out to the families.”
So far the survivors include one Georgia couple who had been in the water for two hours before their rescue, as well as a father and son team.
It is unknown if there are any more to add to the regatta death toll, but we can expect further updates from the Coast Guard as the search continues for the five still missing. Hopefully more survivors will be found in the waters following the unfortunate Mobile Bay regatta storm.
[Image via YouTube]