The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

August 26, 2013

3-hour tour... plus 16!

Day on Lake Erie turns into night in Lake Erie

By DEVASTASHA BEAVER
Star Beacon

CONNEAUT — Three men from Wadsworth spent nineteen hours clinging to a capsized boat in Lake Erie, about two miles from the lighthouse in Conneaut, said Captain John Schapin of the Conneaut Police Department.

The men left the docks at 10 a.m. Saturday to go fishing. By about 5 p.m. they had limited out their perch catch and went to turn the boat around to return to the docks.

According to Schapin, the owner of the boat either did not tighten the drain plug, or forgot to put the drain plug in, so during their seven-hour trip, they took on water. It was a double-hull 20-foot bass boat, so they did not realize the boat was filling with water.

When they turned the boat, all of the water shifted to one side, causing the boat to flip. One of the passengers, a nineteen-year-old man, tried to swim pushing the boat, but was unable.

The three men clung to the boat all night with their legs and feet in the water. Schapin said 200 boats launched Sunday morning and no one noticed them until noon.

“We got the call around twelve thirty-one,” he said. “We were expecting to get some hypothermic people in here, but they were all very lucky. Only their legs and feet were in the water.”

The men were discovered by a couple from Leckrone, Pennsylvania when one of them saw a large, grey object in the water and thought it was a whale, said Schapin.

As they approached the object, the orange life vests the men were wearing became visible, and the couple quickly pulled them onto their boat.

They were transported to University Hospitals in Conneaut and treated.