The bow of the submerged fire boat protrudes from the water. Photo courtesy of Anne Arundel County Fire Dept.

Four Rescued as Fire Boat Sinks off Gibson Island

What happens when a fire boat rescue crew suddenly needs to be rescued themselves?

On a gusty Monday afternoon that’s exactly what happened to the Anne Arundel County Fire Department. Fire department spokesperson Lt. Jennifer Macallaire tells Bay Bulletin that four crew members were doing training on the Bay near Craighill Channel when the boat began to sink.

A gale warning remained in effect Monday through midnight. The National Weather Service Baltimore Washington D.C. warned of “northwest winds 20-30 knots with gusts up to 40 knots and waves 2-4 feet.” The gale warning also read, “Strong wind will cause hazardous waves which could capsize or damage vessels.”

Thankfully all four crew members were wearing exposure suits and PFDs. They were quick to call for help around 3 p.m., and a Maryland Department of Natural Resources boat made it to the scene in time to rescue the four. They are safe and in good health, Macallaire says.

The 36-foot fire boat sunk in 23 feet of water. Now, Macaillaire tells us, the boat is “almost completely submerged” and Anne Arundel Fire’s Special Operations Chief is working on trying to get the vessel out of the water.

If the boat’s location near Craighill Channel sounds familiar, that’s because it’s in the same area that the massive ocntainer ship Ever Forward remains aground outside the channel. Macaillaire says the fire boat’s location is still a distance away, however.

The cause of the sinking is under investigation.

We expect to have more information as the evening goes on and will continue to update this story.

-Meg Walburn Viviano