WAREHAM, MASS. (WHDH) - Five people stranded in the water off Wareham after their boat crashed into a buoy were rescued thanks to the heroic actions of two Wareham police officers.
Officers responding to a report of a loud crash and people yelling for help in the area of 261 Great Neck Road around 8 p.m. found multiple people in the water by Stony Point Dike, police said.
Acting Police chief John Walcek praised Officer James White for jumping into the water with a life jacket and a throw ring and bringing two people back to shore.
“Officer James White risked his life tonight by jumping in the ocean without hesitation, saving two lives,” he said. “The individuals in distress were over 120 feet from shore, coupled with the strong canal current, and darkness made the rescue of these two people miraculous. I am extremely proud of his bravery under adverse conditions.”
Officer Blaise Lalli walked further down the dike to try and locate the others that were heard yelling. He found three additional people clinging to a channel marker buoy.
Lalli contacted the responding Wareham Natural Resources boat, staffed by Harbormaster Garry Buckminster and Lt. Justin Harrington of the Onset Fire Department, who rescued the three on the buoy, including the owner of the boat, Mattapoisett Fire Chief Andrew Murray.
“Officer Lalli was prepared to enter the water where the other cries for help were coming from until it was realized that they were clinging to buoy,” Walcek said. “The cooperation and coordination between the multiple agencies involved, made this night end without any loss of life.”
Police say the five people sustained minor injuries; however, it could have been a lot worse if a 911 call was never made.
“Wareham is indeed lucky to have such dedicated public servants,” Walcek said. “Furthermore, it should be added that these rescues would not have happened if it was not for the concerned residents who called 911 and began checking the area.”
A preliminary investigation revealed that a vessel owned by Andrew Murray of Mattapoisett struck a buoy marker and threw five individuals into the water, according to police.
Murray was reportedly one of the people taken off of the buoy.
Massachusetts Environmental Police are investigating.