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Woman’s death under investigation after boat sinks in Boston Harbor early Saturday morning

A diver jumps into the water from a Boston Fire Department search-and-rescue boat, part of a search for a missing boater that was underway Saturday morning off Castle Island.
A diver jumps into the water from a Boston Fire Department search-and-rescue boat, part of a search for a missing boater that was underway Saturday morning off Castle Island.John Tlumacki

A woman’s death was under investigation Saturday after a vessel she was on with seven other boaters struck a day marker and sank off Castle Island around 3 a.m.

The eight people on board were thrown into the water when the center console boat went under, the US Coast Guard reported in a statement Saturday afternoon. Seven boaters were rescued by crews from the local agencies that responded shortly after the sinking.

Five of them were sent to area hospitals, according to Boston Fire Department spokesman Brian Alkins. None of the surviving men and women suffered life-threatening injuries, according to Boston Police Sergeant Detective John Boyle.

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A body matching the description of the missing woman was recovered from the water by the Massachusetts State Police shortly after 10 a.m., according to the Coast Guard.

The body was transported to the state medical examiner’s office for an autopsy, Boyle said. The woman’s family has been notified, he said, but police are awaiting the autopsy results before publicly releasing her name, as well as the cause and manner of her death.

Boston police’s homicide unit is investigating the woman’s death, along with the Suffolk district attorney’s office, according to standard procedure, Boyle said. In a statement, police asked anyone with information relative to the investigation to contact Boston police homicide detectives at (617) 343-4470.

A reconstruction of the crash will be done by the state Boat and Recreation Vehicle Safety Bureau, Boyle said. He had no information about whether charges would be filed.

Weather conditions recorded at Logan International Airport around the time the boat sank showed clear skies with a visibility of about 10 miles, according to Bill Simpson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norton.

The sinking prompted a massive response by multiple agencies including Boston’s EMS, police, and fire departments, along with the Coast Guard, State Police, Environmental Police, and the Massport Fire Department, the Coast Guard said in its statement.

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Captain Kailie Benson, commander of the US Coast Guard’s Sector Boston, said in the statement that her condolences go out to the family and friends of the victim, and reminded people to be careful on the water.

“I would like to take this moment to remind everyone to practice safe boating by wearing life jackets, operating at a safe speed, and considering the risk posed by the environment when taking to the water,” Benson said.

The Coast Guard searched the vicinity of Castle Island for approximately 13 hours, it said.

During the search, first responders had set up a command post near the Carson Beach pier. In the distance, a boat could be seen upside down in the water, while rescue vessels were searching about a quarter-mile away.

A police boat was positioned by the wreckage of an overturned pleasure boat as the search was underway Saturday morning.
A police boat was positioned by the wreckage of an overturned pleasure boat as the search was underway Saturday morning.John Tlumacki

Around 10 a.m., a diver from the Boston Fire Department’s search-and-rescue boat could be seen going into the water about 100 yards from the tall day marker. One of those markers was surrounded by several rescue boats.

The deadly boating crash comes a day after three people were rescued Friday by helicopter several miles off the New Hampshire coast when their sailboat capsized, according to the Coast Guard. Also on Friday, a Hy-Line Ferry collided with another vessel in Nantucket Harbor in heavy fog Friday evening, the Coast Guard said. No injuries were reported in either of those cases.

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The woman’s death Saturday also follows a spate of drownings across the region.

People out enjoying the summer morning on the shoreline could see the rescue effort.

On Carson Beach, joggers ran along the water and children played in the sand. At Castle Island, people picnicked and explored the fort, but some just stood by the piers watching the rescue boats at work.

“It’s terrible what happened,” said John Stanton, a South Boston resident who came to Castle Hill for the afternoon with family and friends.

“Everyone’s been cooped up for the past year, people are really eager to get back out there,” he said.

John’s son, Sam Stanton, said he hopes there will also be added safety precautions in the harbor in response to the incident.

“Someone’s life was ruined. A lot of people’s lives were ruined,” he said.

Onlookers said the incident is particularly heartbreaking after the high number of water-related deaths this summer.

“I can’t get over the number of drownings,” said Lorraine LeClair. “It’s so much more than normal, it’s sad.”

John Tlumacki and Brittany Bowker of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

Police boats were near a day marker in a channel as a search was underway Saturday morning in the water off Castle Island for a missing boater.
Police boats were near a day marker in a channel as a search was underway Saturday morning in the water off Castle Island for a missing boater.John Tlumacki/GLOBE STAFF



John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com. Ivy Scott can be reached at ivy.scott@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @itsivyscott.