A 19-year-old man fell from a Steamship Authority ferry Thursday night into the water off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, according to the Steamship Authority.
Steamship Authority general manager Wayne Lamson said in a statement that Chris Connelly, 19, of Millers Falls, fell backward off the ferry Martha’s Vineyard at about 8:52 p.m. June 20 as the boat was sailing from Oak Bluffs to Woods Hole.
The statement said that Mr. Connelly attempted to sit on an outboard railing on the third deck of the ferry, falling backward from the rail into the water. The vessel’s deck watch noticed a passenger throwing a life ring overboard, Mr. Lamson said, and the bridge was notified of a man overboard.
Captain Mike Mazza ordered the rescue boat launched, and lookouts were posted per standard operating procedure, Mr. Lamson said. The passenger was retrieved from the water within seven minutes.
“Mr. Connelly is very lucky that our crew was able to respond so quickly,” Mr. Lamson said.
Lieut. Bryan Swintek, command center chief for the Coast Guard’s Woods Hole station, said the Coast Guard received the report that a man had fallen off the ferry, and the Coast Guard happened to be doing a training in the area at the time with a 45-foot boat, a 29-foot boat and a Coast Guard helicopter. All three were diverted to the scene and arrived within nine minutes, he said.
After the man was retrieved from the water by the Steamship’s rescue boat crew, the man was transferred to the Coast Guard’s 45-foot boat.
“He had some injuries,” Lieutenant Swintek said, enough so that Falmouth fire department responded. The man was taken to the hospital in Falmouth.
Mr. Lamson said the boat was docked in Woods Hole with no further incident, and the case is still being investigated by the Steamship Authority, the Coast Guard and State Police.