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UPDATE: Fireboat hits rocks & sinks in Delaware river injuring 3 firefighters – Operator charged


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UPDATE

The News Journal:

Wednesday afternoon, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement announced in a release that the fire boat’s operator, 62-year-old Edward Kalinowski, of Delaware City, was charged with one count of negligence by operating at excessive speed. Kalinowski also sustained a broken ankle in the accident. 

EARLIER

Three firefighters were hurt early this morning (Wednesday) after Fireboat 15 from the Delaware City Fire Company hit a jetty while on a search for a missing vessel in the Delaware River.

WTXF-TV:

Three members of the Delaware City Fire Co. were hurt, after their fireboat struck a jetty along the Delaware River and started to sink.

It happened just after midnight on the north side of the c and d canal.

The boat’s operator and two crew members were thrown forward into the cabin and had to be rescued.

Robin Brown, The News Journal:

At 12:18 a.m. the crew notified the 911 Center that the vessel was sinking and personnel were evacuating.

The operator of the vessel suffered an ankle injury, the second crew member suffered facial injuries, and the third crew member suffered lacerations, and hip and back injuries. They are expected to remain hospitalized for evaluation through the day on Wednesday.

DE Delaware City fireboat 15

From Delaware City Fire Company website. Fireboat 15 is a 34 foot Metalcraft Marine Aluminum hull vessel that was acquired in 2011 through the Port Security Grant.

Delaware City Fire Company press release:

Just after midnight Wednesday morning, at 12:18 am, the NCC 911 Center dispatched the Delaware City Fire Company after alerting the Port Penn Fire Company to assist DNREC Fish and Wildlife on a missing vessel south of Artificial Island. While enroute along the Delaware River, Delaware City’s Fireboat struck the getty on the North side of the C & D Canal, proceeded over the rock getty and immediately started having water into the hull of the vessel. The operator and two crew members on board were thrown forward into the cabin console and suffered injuries. The crew notified the 911 Center that the vessel was sinking and personnel were evacuating. The 911 Center dispatched Port Penn, Goodwill of New Castle, and Lower Alloways Creek Marine Rescue Units, Delaware State Police Aviation, US Coast Guard, Delaware Fish & Wildlife Marine Enforcement, to respond to the scene. Fire Chief James D. Rosseel arrived on scene at Delaware City to command the incident.

Port Penn and Goodwill Rescue Units arrived and were able to extract the personnel from the getty and transported them to Delaware City docks for medical evaluation and transport to Christiana Hospital. Delaware City’s second Marine Unit also responded to assist and provide assessment of the sunken vessel. Christiana and Odessa Basic Life Support Ambulances and NCC EMS provided medical care and transported the three personnel to Christiana for treatment and evaluation. The operator of the vessel suffered an ankle injury, and the second crew member suffered facial injuries, and the third crew member suffered lacerations, hip and back injuries. They are expected to remain at Christiana for evaluation through the day on Wednesday.

DNREC Fish and Wildlife are investigating the incident and Delaware City Fire Company will also conduct an internal incident investigation. Sea Tow Boat Salvage has been contacted and are developing a salvage operation to start at dawn.
Fireboat 15 is a 34 foot Metalcraft Marine Aluminum hull vessel that was acquired in 2011 through the Port Security Grant.

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