Officer remembers saving 5 people, including baby – NBC Boston
A first responder shares his story after helping rescue five people, including a pregnant woman and a baby, who were on a boat that capsized off the coast of Ipswich, Massachusetts over the weekend.
“They were about 200 or 300 yards offshore,” said Ipswich officer Matthew Bodwell, the town’s deputy harbor master.
Bodwell was patrolling the waters of Plum Island Sound when the distress call came in for a capsized boat.
“As I turned to look to my left, I could see a gentleman’s hand in the air,” Bodwell said.
What he didn’t know until he got closer was that five people were in the water, including a pregnant woman and a 14-month-old girl.
“It changed the script, because your first immediate thought is to pull this kid out of the water because you don’t want the worst outcome,” Bodwell said.
A pregnant woman and a baby were among those rescued.
The group is on vacation from Connecticut. The adults are in their thirties. Police say they are not marine or water savvy and were using a friend’s boat. None of them were wearing life jackets.
“Everyone kind of had a hand on the baby while they were in the water, plus they were holding the boat,” Bodwell said. “It was a bit of chaos. Surprisingly it wasn’t, nobody was screaming mad, but they were definitely in panic mode.”
He didn’t realize one of the women was pregnant until he went to pull her into his boat.
“‘I can’t go out on my stomach’, [she said]. And, I said, ‘Oh, what’s wrong and she said, ‘Oh, I’m pregnant,'” Bodwell recalled. So I had to take it down,” Bodwell said.
The small aluminum boat capsized in a docking area in Plum Island Sound.
A nearby boater called Mayday on Saturday afternoon. The waters were choppy. Bodwell says when the group shifted its weight in the boat, it took on water and rolled over.
“It could have been bad,” Bodwell said.
Bodwell was right there. He made sure doctors were waiting ashore to check on the group and that everyone was fine.
“I don’t think of myself as a hero. I just think of myself as the guy doing his job that he’s supposed to do,” Bodwell said.
Coast Guard-approved flotation devices are mandatory for children under 12, but police do not plan to cite the family, saying they are happy no one was injured.