Cambridge firefighters rescue 9 people after boat capsizes in the Charles River
Cambridge firefighters rescued nine people Friday morning after an MIT rowing shell capsized in the Charles River near the Longfellow Bridge, the second time that day first responders rushed to the aid of an MIT crew team apparently endangered by turbulent conditions on the water’s surface.
In a statement, MIT’s director of rowing, Tony Kilbridge, said both shells were on the Charles River early Friday morning.
“Two MIT eight-person shells swamped in high winds and waves in the vicinity of the Longfellow Bridge at approximately 7:15 a.m. on Friday morning,’’ Kilbridge said in the statement. “All of the student-athletes were removed from the boats, were returned to the MIT boathouse and are doing well.”
An MIT coach in a motorized launch was with both shells at the time, Kilbridge wrote.
“There was some slight equipment damage to one shell, but nothing serious,’’ he wrote. “There was a coach’s launch accompanying the crew team as they practiced.”
The damaged shell is expected to be fully repaired.
Cambridge fire’s marine unit rescued nine men from an overturned shell and brought them to an MIT facility on the Cambridge side of the river, said Gerard E. Mahoney, acting fire chief.
“Update on the water rescue: Nine persons have been removed from the water by @CambridgeMAFire Marine Unit 1. Everyone is accounted for,’’ the department tweeted around 8 a.m. “No injuries are reported but they will be evaluated by EMTs and Medics.”
Earlier, the first incident took place off the Boston shore of the river near the Charlesgate ramps around 7:15 a.m. when Boston police received reports of eight to 10 people in the water near Kenmore Square after a boat capsized.
State Police dispatched its marine unit and determined that all of those involved were no longer in danger. According to State Police spokesman David Procopio, two people sustained minor injuries and were taken across the Charles River to be examined by Cambridge EMS.
The crew members and the boat were relocated to the Hatch Shell with the assistance of State Police.
MIT Assistant Crew Coach Evan Thews-Wassell said the members of his team were never in danger.
“We were rowing and then weather got bad, so we decided to pull the guys out of the boat. Safety first,” he said in a brief telephone interview. “I don’t know who called or what is going on. This isn’t anything new in the rowing world.”
Thews-Wassell referred any other questions to the MIT athletic program officials.
The National Weather Service said Boston had wind gusts of 40 miles an hour Friday morning.