Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rescue Me

This hunk of a young man happens to be my cousin's oldest son, Brian. (sorry the photo's so crappy) Yes, I changed his diapers once, but now he's 21 and rescuing people at sea. Recently he saved a man's life. Of course, we are all proud of Brian. Here's the story below.

Mass. Maritime cadet applies school lessons to save a life
SANDWICH - When Brian Taylor spotted a man in the water and a boat adrift at Sandwich Marina Tuesday night, he immediately called for help. "I saw a red jacket in the water and his hands up by the side of the boat," Taylor, a seasonal employee at the town-owned marina, said yesterday. "I called the assistant harbor master and told him to get over there with the harbor master's boat right away. I told him there's a person in the water."
Taylor, 21, a sophomore at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, jumped into a dinghy at about 7:40 p.m. and headed toward a 44-foot Hinckley yacht adrift about 50 yards from the docks. He found a man, his face barely out of the water, trapped along the side of his boat by a rope that was entangled in the yacht's engines.
"As I got closer, he gained consciousness," Taylor said. "He started screaming, 'Help me. Help me.'"
Jack Erbes, a boat captain driving the multimillion-dollar yacht from Nantucket to a Maine boatyard, had hit his head on the concrete of the marina's fuel dock, said David Whearty, an assistant harbor master credited with assisting in the rescue.
Erbes was apparently attempting to jump from boat to the dock with the ropes in his hand when he smacked his head and wound up in the water.
"We think he got flung backwards because one of the ropes was sucked into the jet propulsion engine," Taylor said.
That rope is what trapped Erbes against the side of the yacht. "It jammed his hand against the boat," Whearty said. "He was able to keep just a little bit of his head out of the water."
Taylor, an emergency management major, cut the rope with a knife and helped Erbes onto the yacht's swim platform. The yacht's engines were shut down and it was towed to a slip.
"He had no life vest and the water was cold," Whearty said. "There would not have been a good ending if no one was here."
In fact, Taylor's season ends Sunday. He has worked for the town for about five years.
Erbes, an employee of Hinckley Yachts in Rhode Island, was taken by Sandwich Fire Department personnel to Jordan Hospital. He suffered a large bump and cut on his head and was disoriented, officials said.
Erbes returned the next morning to retrieve the boat and head toward Maine, Whearty said. Erbes did not return a call left on his voice mail yesterday.
As for Taylor and Whearty, they were recognized for their heroics by the Sandwich selectmen last night. "I'm very happy he was OK," Taylor said.

Taylor will also likely receive a cadet ribbon for having the presence of mind to use his emergency management training so effectively, Adm. Richard Gurnon, Massachusetts Maritime president, said yesterday.
"It's nice to see all those things come together with a successful outcome," he said.
Whearty downplayed his own role, giving full credit to Taylor for the rescue. "He is the one who saved the man's life, without a doubt."

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