WESTERLY, R.I. (WPRI) — A man was taken to the hospital with serious injuries Tuesday afternoon after he was hit by a boat off the coast of Watch Hill.
According to the Department of Environmental Management, 56-year-old James Delisle was swimming near the Watch Hill lighthouse at about 3:15 p.m. when he was struck. Eyewitnesses reported seeing several people helping him to shore as emergency crews responded to the scene.
“We saw people running into the water,” said lifeguard Mac Walsh. “We helped pull him out of the water and stabilize him. We did what we could.”
The fire department said Delisle was bleeding and semi-conscious when they arrived, with multiple lacerations to his back, shoulders and arms that appeared to be serious, but not life-threatening. He was initially transported to Westerly Hospital, before being transferred to Rhode Island Hospital.
Walsh said he and other lifeguards have seen him swimming in the area before.
“He’s a guy who’s here all the time, he swims miles out sometimes,” he said. “I guess he’s a professional swimmer and he was pretty far out.”
Investigators from the Westerly Police Department and DEM are now searching for the boat that was involved, which left the scene following the accident.
The incident occurred near Taylor Swift’s house, but there’s no indication the singer was involved in any way.