Body pulled from water after boat crash in Westerly

WPRI/Dave Wiggins

WESTERLY, R.I. (WPRI) — Emergency personnel are investigating a fatal incident off the coast of Westerly Tuesday morning.

Numerous agencies responded after a 60-foot vessel and a 22-foot vessel collided off Watch Hill Point at about 10:20 a.m., according to the Watch Hill Fire Department.

Officials confirmed the remains of a man were pulled from the water.

Investigators are not releasing the name of the victim, but say his boat was registered in Connecticut.

The victim was transported to a dock and turned over to the medical examiner’s office. His boat, the smaller of the two, was towed to Dodson’s Boatyard in Stonington, Conn.

“Every other year it seems like something tragic seems to happen in the fall. I don’t know why. The waters are less traveled by boats,” said John Seidel.

Seidel, a store owner near the harbor and a boater himself, said the area where the accident happened is a tough one to navigate.

“There’s two great big currents that coincide right at the point right on the other side of the lighthouse and so the water can get pretty rough during tide change,” he explained. “And so a boat like this – they have to track through the channel and they don’t have a lot of options.”

Watch Hill Fire Chief Robert Peacock said the operator of the second boat was not injured. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

“We’re hoping it’s not somebody that we know. That’s a concern and it’s such a quiet time of year now you wouldn’t expect it,” said Marilyn Pettys, of Warren.

The U.S. Coast Guard also responded to the scene, along with mutual aid rescue boats from Misquamicut Fire, Pawcatuck Fire and Charlestown Rescue. The Westerly Police Department and paramedics from the Westerly Ambulance Corps provided assistance.

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