Woman Looks Out Window, Saves Men From 'Pure Hell'

Massachusetts woman saw boat capsize, called 911
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 4, 2022 8:35 AM CST
Updated Feb 6, 2022 12:45 PM CST
Woman Looks Out Window, Saves Men From 'Pure Hell'
An image from the fire department's drone video of the rescue.   (Scituate Fire Department)

If Massachusetts woman Pam Harght had been looking in a different direction during a business call on Tuesday, three fishermen would have almost certainly perished in the frigid waters of Cape Cod Bay. Harght, who was working from home, says she was looking out the window when she saw a familiar 55-foot fishing vessel appear to turn over and sink. "It happened so fast," she tells the Boston Globe. "I excused myself from the call. I said, ‘I have to go,’ and just hung up." She called 911 and used an app to give authorities the coordinates of where the boat had gone down off the coast of Scituate. Boats from the Coast Guard, police, fire department, and two harbormaster's offices found the three exhausted men about half a mile from the shore, clinging to a 200-foot hose that had been on the boat.

The men, who were not wearing life jackets or survival suits, had been in the water for more than 45 minutes, surrounded by a slick of diesel fuel from their boat. "They were helpless,” Scituate Fire Chief John Murphy told CBS Boston. "Clinging for life, holding onto ... floating hoses, and by the time we were able to get them in the boat with rope to them, they couldn’t even do that." He said they were extremely lucky Harght called. "We probably would’ve found them on the beach tomorrow realistically." The three men were hospitalized with severe hypothermia, police said in a Facebook post.

Fisherman Joe Roderick tells the Globe being in the rough sea, treading water in multiple layers of waterlogged clothes, was "pure hell." He says they were fishing for surf clams when the boat started tipping. He says it capsized and sank within two minutes and they swam for the hose, which was the only thing floating. Authorities say Harght was the only person who called 911 about the sinking. "It was a total fluke," she says. "I just happened to be looking out the window." (Read more uplifting news stories.)

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