Several rescued unharmed after boat sinks in Ziegler's Cove

DARIEN — “That boat is about to go under!”

Darien resident John Sini heard the shouts while out on his boat with his son in Ziegler’s Cove, a popular spot for locals, on late Sunday afternoon.

“Several boats and a jet ski surrounded the boat to assist. There were about six passengers that all safely swam to another boat,” he said.

He said he wasn’t sure why the boat “swamped itself.”

Darien Police’s Sgt. James Palmieri said the call came in about 4:45 p.m. Noroton Fire found a vessel overturned with people in the water, and pulled several passengers on board.

“They were inside Ziegler’s Cove anchored when water came over the transom. There were too many people in the back of the boat,” said Towboat U.S. skipper Jay Wiggington, adding that there were seven people in the boat when it began taking on water.

He said he did not think that there were too many people in the boat, but that there were too many people in the stern and water began coming over the back of the boat.

Palmieri said when they attempted to tow the submerged vessel, after its occupants were rescued, the amount of water it had taken on caused it to capsize.

“No injuries were sustained by anyone. Officers determined the likely cause of the issue to be a malfunctioning bilge pump,” Palmieri said.

Wiggington said he received the call to respond to a boat sinking at about 5 p.m. Sunday. He said when he got there a 23-foot Donzi with an outboard motor had capsized and turned turtle in the popular mooring area that attracts boaters as far away as Long Island.

“It’s just the older style boats that have their transoms really low to the water. Even when it is floating normally there is probably only six or eight inches of freeboard back there and it took water over the stern,” he added.

The Darien Marine Police unit along with Noroton Fire Department responded after the seven were able to get off the boat.

Wiggington said he came on scene after the boat had been towed out of the cove and brought it over to the east side of Long Neck Point where he was able to turn the boat back over and pump it out before towing it to the Norwalk Yacht Club.

Noroton Fire Department Engine Captain Tim Ward noted the water has been “very busy this year” which he said was no surprise given the pandemic.

The department responded with its fire boat and amphibious rescue boat along with Darien Police’s marine unit to the report of vessel overturned/water rescue, Ward said.

“We are simply glad to have an opportunity to be of service to our town and we train hard to be ready for whatever may arise. On the water, our interoperability with the Darien Police Department, neighboring municipalities and the Coast Guard is common and important given the diversity of vessels that can be brought to bear for an emergency on the Long Island Sound,” he said.