Get a flotation device on your victim..ASAP
Something to consider...
Rescue squad devastated by drowning of injured woman
CORNISH, N.H. (AP) - A week after an injured woman drowned when
a rescue boat capsized, the crew that tried to help her is dealing
with grief and stress, officials said.
Virginia Yates, 64, of Rockingham, Vt., died Aug. 22 after a
Cornish Rescue Squad boat sank to the bottom of the Connecticut
Yates slipped and fell that afternoon while stepping onto a
private dock in Springfield, Vt., injuring her ankle and hitting
After a friend went to a public dock for help and a woman called
911, the Cornish Rescue Squad went to retrieve her because
Springfield and Charlestown, N.H. - the nearest towns - do not have
Emergency responders from Springfield and Cornish placed Yates
on a backboard and strapped the board to a stretcher attached to
the airboat, officials said.
But on the way to Hoyt's Landing, the boat suddenly sank, taking
Yates under. Rescuers were unable to recover her body for about an
hour, according to emergency dispatch records. None of the
emergency responders was injured.
The Cornish Rescue Squad members, who are all volunteers, were
devastated by Yates' death and their hearts go out to her family
and friends, said Mark Attorri, a lawyer who is advising the rescue
squad members as they cooperate with an investigation by the New
Hampshire Marine patrol and the Sullivan County attorney's office.
Members of the Springfield Fire Department talked about the
failed rescue last week with counselors from Green Mountain
Critical Incident Stress Management, said fire Chief Ross Thompson.
"This incident or any incident, any time there is an event that
doesn't have the outcome we expect or like, it creates a potential
need for debriefing and taking care of our own people's health,"
Frank Silfies, of the counseling organization, said rescue
operations that end in a civilian's injury or death are among the
most psychologically damaging for rescuers.
"Most rescuers, if they are in a position where they can't do
the rescue, where there is nothing for them to do, that is tough,"
Silfies said. "Rescuers are action-oriented people and they get
into the business to save people."
Information from: Lebanon Valley News, http://www.vnews.com
(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Possible explanation on WHY the boat sank..
According to press reports, the vessel used by the department was a Yankee Airboat. I visited the Yankee Airboat website at:
On their homepage, they state, "Yankee Airboats has been granted all exemptions through the United States Coast Guard as of 22 July 2003"
Possibly, had this been a USCG approved vessel, then this tragedy may have had a different outcome.
Certainly, using the benefit of hindsight, the other error was tying the victim, backboard and stokes basket to the front end of the boat. No one anticipated this accident would happen so the crew apparently did not anticipate the consequences of securing the victim to the vessel. I believe MANY people have learned from this unfortunate tragedy and it is good that forums like this exist so we can discuss these events and learn from them.
Our agency uses a buoyant Miller Board to immobilize victims, when needed. We do not place PFDs on immobilized victims since there is sufficient floatation provided by the board. Additionally, we have immobilized the victim because we are suspecting a spinal injury and the placement or use of the PFD, I believe, would do additional harm to the victim.
One of the concerns we have identified though is what happens should the immobilized victim go overboard while strapped to the board. There is at least a 50/50 chance that they will be upside down on the board. Consideration has been given to weight the foot of the board and possibly provide some supplemental floatation at chest level on the board.
Does anyone have a better idea?