Some dramatic moments were experienced in Wareham last night after a boat crashed into a buoy, send five people into the water.
At 8 p.m. Wareham Police officers responded to the vicinity of 261 Great Neck Road after reports were received of a loud crash and people yelling for help.
Officers James White and Blaise Lalli arrived and began to search for anyone in distress. Upon arriving at the Stony Point Dike, the officers could hear multiple people calling for help. They observed two people struggling in the water and could hear others yelling for help but were unable to see them.
Officer White entered the water with a life jacket and throw ring and was able to bring two people to shore. Officer Lalli proceeded further down the dike to try and locate the other parties, observing three more victims clinging to a channel marker buoy.
Officer Lalli was able to relay that information to the responding Wareham Department of Natural Resources boat. The DNR boat, staffed by Harbormaster Garry Buckminster and Lt. Justin Harrington of the Onset Fire Department, was able to rescue these three off of the buoy.
It was later determined a vessel, owned by Andrew Murray of Mattapoisett, struck a marker buoy. The incident is under investigation by the Massachusetts Environmental Police. Injuries among the five are reported to be minor.
Wareham Acting Police Chief made the following statement: “Officer James White risked his life tonight by jumping in the ocean without hesitation, saving two lives. The individuals in distress were over a 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 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 the buoy. The cooperation and coordination between the multiple agencies involved made this night end without any loss of life. Wareham is indeed lucky to have such dedicated public servants. 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.”