DA press release: Westport boat capsizing update

Press Release

January 7, 2014

The preliminary investigation into this morning’s fatal boat capsizing in Westport has revealed the following information as of this hour:

This morning at some point shortly before 8 a.m., a River Road resident noticed a capsized boat in the waters of the Westport River. The resident immediately notified the Westport Harbor Master. The Harbor Master then notified Westport Police and Fire officials, who immediately began a search of the area. The Harbor Master located the boat, which has been described as a skiff, and brought it to shore. Police and fire, meanwhile, searched the area for any vehicles that may have previously had the boat attached to it. After finding such a vehicle, police went to the home of the vehicle’s registered owner and confirmed that this individual along with two others had gone out on the river to duck hunt early this morning. A search of the river and surrounding areas immediately commenced, and was conducted by Westport Police, Westport Fire, Massachusetts Environmental Police, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Massachusetts State Police Dive Team, the State Police Air Wing and State Police Detectives assigned to the district attorney’s office. Two men who were on the boat were found deceased a short time later at the town’s Cherry and Webb beach. A third man was rescued from the river by a U.S. Coast Guard Jayhawk Helicopter crew. The helicopter immediately transported this lone surviving victim to Rhode Island Hospital for Hypothermia-type symptoms. At this time, this incident does not appear to be suspicious in nature. However, State Troopers assigned to this office are investigating, along with a number of other agencies listed above.  The two deceased victims’ identities are Steven James, 53, of Marshfield, and Robert Becher, 55, of Cromwell, CT.   The surviving victim’s identity is Gregg Angell, 51, of  Westport. Mr. Angell remains hospitalized at this time, but is expected to survive.

District Attorney Sam Sutter asserted that without the rapid communication and collaboration amongst local, state and federal agencies, it is unknown whether the third victim’s life would have been saved. He praised the members of all the agencies involved for acting quickly and working together to save a life despite the difficult circumstances and brutally cold conditions.