Two Dead, Five Missing in Alabama After Boats Capsize - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Two Dead, Five Missing in Alabama After Boats Capsize

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NBC News - Five sailors are still missing after a number of sailboats capsized when a sudden storm hit during a regatta near Mobile Bay, Alabama, Saturday afternoon, leaving at least two people dead, officials said Sunday.

Coast Guard crews scouring the waters found one body on Saturday night and another on Sunday morning after the thunderstorm threw several mariners overboard, said U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Duke Walker. Of the ten boats that capsized or suffered damage, three were participating in one of the races that was part of the Dauphin Island Sailing Regatta, Walker said.

Walker said that 40 people had been rescued from the water after the 4:30 p.m. storm, and the Coast Guard believes five people remained missing Sunday.

"We think we are looking for five additional people in the water but we are still pulling for information," he said.

Dauphin Island Mayor Jeff Collier said he didn't know how many boats were in the water when winds of up to 80 mph rolled in, but he said usually 150 boats compete in the event.

Connor Gaston, who was participating in the race with his father, said his uncle's boat was in front of them. Gaston said their boat didn't capsize, but his uncle's boat did. "He was only a half mile ahead of us, but we couldn't see him when he went over because it was raining so hard," Gaston said.

Gaston said his uncle was rescued and he and his father weren't hurt, but his cousin suffered a serious arm injury.

"The wind picked up super, super fast when the storm was coming through," he said. "It was the most wind I have seen in my life."

The Coast Guard has deployed one patrol boat, four response boats, three helicopter crews and a surveillance aircraft to help local authorities with the search efforts, according to a statement.
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