VINALHAVEN — A Thomaston father and son were rescued this afternoon from rocks in Hurricane Sound after they swam to safety from their burning vessel.
The boat, the 25-foot inboard Midnight Rider, caught fire sometime just before 1 p.m. the afternoon of Dec. 16 near Vinalhaven. The captain, David Anthony, 45 and his son, Blake Anthony, 21, were forced to jump into the water and swim to a rock near the southern end of Cedar Island.
The distress call came to Knox County Communications Center in Rockland via several sources. A woman spotted the burning boat from her home, and others saw the fire consume the lobster boat from various viewpoints.
As Vinalhaven firefighters and EMT crews rushed to the scene, so did Maine Marine Patrol officers Matt Wyman and Brandon Bezio, who sped out from Rockland in the Marine Patrol vessel, Protector.
“They saw what remained of a lobster boat on fire,” reported Marine Patrol spokesman Jeff Nichols, Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, several outboard skiffs from Vinalhaven also rushed to assist the fishermen.
Also assisting were two pilots in a plane dispatched from Penobscot Island Air, who helped locate the boat. They radioed the latitude and longitude of the boat and spotted the two on the nearby rock waving to the plane.
Rescuers worked to help the Anthonys aboard the Marine Patrol boat, where they were quickly stripped of their sodden clothes and wrapped in dry blankets and coats to warm them, said Nichols.
Blake was in worse condition, suffering from hypothermia and unable to feel his extremities, said Nichols.
The water temperature was 47 degrees F, and they were swimming nearly 200 yards to the rocks.
“It doesn’t take long for cold water to disable you,” said Nichols.
Both men were transported to Vinalhaven Medical Center.
The cause of the fire is not yet known.
Editorial Director Lynda Clancy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 207-706-6657.