sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : Survival: 11 hours overboard without a life jacket
Survival: 11 hours overboard without a life jacket

'Sailing in Block Island Sound - Joseph Gross says he’ll wear a life jacket from now on'    .

A man who survived nearly 11 hours in cold water without a life jacket says he'll wear one from now on.

Joseph Gross said he could see the Coast Guard searchlights as he treaded water in the dark calm of Block Island Sound near Rhode Island in the USA.


The 51-year-old had already been in the water without a life jacket for three hours when he spotted the lights that would eventually find him hours before dawn.

'The searchlights came on, then I saw the helicopter,' Gross said Thursday from a hospital bed at South County Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition. 'I knew I had a better chance. I tried to stay up as long as I could.'

Before sunset on Tuesday, Gross had been motoring from Block Island behind the wheel of Rock Bottom, his 23-foot boat. About a third of the way back to shore, the Westerly Yacht Club member had his foot up on a side rail when a wave hit the boat and he fell overboard.

'It happened in a second,' Gross said. 'The boat went up, came down and dug right in. The back end came up for whatever reason.'

The sudden movement shifted his weight and sent him reeling overboard into 70-degree (21 degree Celsius) water wearing just a bathing suit.

The boat sped off and would eventually run aground on Green Hill Beach in South Kingstown with its motor running; a woman called 911 around 7:30 p.m. to report it.

'I watched the boat just fly away,' Gross said. 'I was a long ways from anywhere, 6 to 8 miles from land. At first I panicked. I thought, ‘This is the end.’'

He had one glaring thought on his mind. 'Death. Death. What more could I tell you?' Gross said.

But Gross said he realized he needed a plan and needed to stay calm in order to survive. He figured out the tide was moving toward Block Island, so he started swimming slowly in that direction.

'I thought, ‘I’ve got to do something. Calm down. The water is not that cold right now,’' he said.

As the hours stretched on, Gross tried creating a makeshift flotation device using his bathing suit, but it didn’t work. 'It was rough,' he said. 'You keep asking yourself, ‘How hard do you want to live?’'

At one point, Gross said one of the search boats came within 200 yards of finding him, and a Coast Guard helicopter came close to spotting him but turned east at the last minute.

'I tried to get back in the search grid,' he said. 'I stuck with my plan and tried to swim to New Harbor [on Block Island].'

Gross said he neared the south side of a break wall off the island, but kept getting pushed out by the tide. By the time he was rescued, hypothermia had set in and he was starting to hallucinate.

He thought the Coast Guard vessel that rescued him was an airplane. 'You have no idea how cold that is,' Gross said.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Riley Harriman said the 8-plus-hour search ended at 3:37 a.m. Wednesday, when Gross was found 3 miles southwest of Point Judith Lighthouse. A 47-foot boat from Station Point Judith, a 25-foot boat from Station Block Island, a Coast Guard Cutter and a Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod were all used in the search, along with a state Department of Environmental Management vessel.

'Pretty incredible,' Harriman said of Gross’ survival against the odds. 'Unfortunately, these things don’t come up as much, as far as finding the person.'

Gross said he planned to return to work in the engineering department of General Dynamics on Monday morning, and would be back out on the water next weekend.

'But with a lifejacket on,' Gross said. 'If I’m not working this time of year, I’m on the water. That’s not going to change.'

'I want to thank the Coast Guard, the DEM and South County Hospital. I can’t say that enough,' he added.

The DEM was continuing its investigation of the incident on Wednesday and has not yet released its findings, though there will be no charges brought against Gross, spokeswoman Gail Mastrati said

Meanwhile it's possible Joseph Gross has been punished enough. He says he feels fine physically, but emotionally 'it's kind of torture to me.'

Gross says he has spent so much time boating he got complacent, but reaffirms he plans to wear a life jacket from now on.

Editor's Comment: Maybe he should think about a tether as well, to keep him ON the boat.


by Sail-World Cruising round-up

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=99949

9:32 PM Fri 20 Jul 2012GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.







News - USA and the World

























Aldo Alessio Regatta - Three days of tight racing by Erik Simonson, Pressure-Drop.US,










Sailing Champions League - which is Europe's best sailing club? by Dan Ibsen & the Sail-World team, Copenhagen


Weta fun at the Wine & Roses Regatta by Bruce Fleming, Santa Barbara
















J/111 World Championships - The Winner is Shmokin Joe! by Stuart Johnstone, Cowes, Isle of Wight












2014 Detroit Cup - Morvan wins by Dobbs Davis, Detroit


Newport Bucket Regatta 2014 -Images by George Bekris
IFDS Worlds 2014 - Final report: USA qualifies for Rio 2016
Extreme Sailing Series: Absent With-Out Leave – Ben Ainslie Racing
2014 IFDS World Championship - New champions claim medals
2014 IFDS World Championships - Sunday’s race images by Tim Wilkes
Shark World Championships underway in Toronto
Anna Tunnicliffe: Alinghi second o'all - Extreme Sailing Series, Day 3
Formula Kite World Championships - Nocher and Bridge crowned Champions
Emirates Team NZ: Frustrating Day 3 in Extreme Sailing Series, Cardiff
Extreme Sailing Series: Light winds help The Wave Muscat - Day 3
Extreme Sailing Series 2014 Act five - Absent without leave – the wind
IFDS Worlds 2014 - Images: Race day five
Herreshoff Classic Regatta 2014 - Images by Ingrid Abery
Youth Olympics - Gold to Argentinean and Chinese Techno 293 racers
Youth Olympics Games Nanjing - Double Youth Olympic Gold for Singapore
Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race 2014 - Two Handers celebrate
Audi Melges 20 U.S. National Championship 2014 - Brazilian dance party
IFDS Disabled Sailing Worlds Day 5 - USA fighting for Rio 2016 Berths
J/111 World Championship 2014 - Day 4: Shmokin Joe consolidates lead
Anna Tunnicliffe: Alinghi on top - Extreme Sailing Series, Day 2
2014 IFDS World Championships - Breezy frustrations   
2014 Detroit Cup - Down to the final four   
Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race - Every finisher's a winner   
2014 49er, 49er FX, Nacra 17 U.S. National Championship - Day 2   
J/24 US National Championship - Will Welles leaps into lead   
J/111 World Championships - Day 3   
Extreme Sailing Series Act 5 – Day 2   
Light wind and a freak storm at Youth Olympic Sailing Competition   
31st Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - Declared 'best ever'   
2014 IFDS World Championships - Aussies on fire   
2014 IFDS World Championships - Saturday’s racing images by Tim Wilkes   
2014 IFDS World Championships - Day 5 images by Jude Robertson   
2014 Audi Melges 20 U.S. National Champ - Day 3 images by Joy Dunigan   
Holt’s 25-year dream comes true with 505 Worlds Victor   
Emirates Team NZ: Collision puts an end to bid for a better day at ESS   
Extreme Sailing Series: Ben Ainslie Racing - mixed results on Day 2   
America's Cup: New brand and image partnership announced with SME   
Extreme Sailing: Tough and testing day on Cardiff Bay - Day 2 + Video   
2014 49er, 49er FX, Nacra 17 U.S. National Championship - Day 1   
2014 J/111 World Championship - Bigger breeze arrives on day 2!   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL WAS US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT