Strong storms overturn two sailboats, damage business

(WPRI/ Corey Welch)

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Brief but severe storms capsized two boats in Warwick on Friday in the waters near Oakland Beach.

According to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, all eleven people on the two boats were wearing life jackets and were able to swim to shore

One of the boats was part of a sailing school, with nine teenagers on board. All nine were able to swim to shore themselves as the thunder and lightning hit.

“Before you know it, it started picking up and they starting drifting…I was like, ‘these kids have a problem,'” said John Rappa, who was watching from the beach nearby. “Thank God they’re safe, that’s the most important thing. Kids have a long life to live.”

DEM said a second boat in Warwick also overturned during the storm, and the two adults were able to swim to shore.

Both the Warwick Fire Department and U.S. Coast Guard responded, but no one needed to be rescued.

In North Kingston’s Quonset Business Park, the storms ripped a part of the roof off Custom Designs. The company’s Vice President Adam Dais told Eyewitness News there were about 49 employees inside when the sudden storms hit. No one was hurt.

“It happened so quickly, and ended so quickly, that by the time we went back outside there was sunshine,” Dais said.

Dais also said he saw what appeared to be a funnel cloud. The National Weather Service says it was in fact straight line winds, reaching about 50 miles per hour.

Dais said the roof will be fixed over the weekend and business expects to be open on Monday.

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