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Wave From Hurricane Sweeps Seven Into Ocean; One Drowns

Acadia National Park

National Park News

On Sunday, August 23rd, a large wave spawned by Hurricane Bill washed over a crowd of visitors watching the surf along Ocean Drive, sweeping seven into the ocean. One of them, a young girl, drowned. Several thousand people had gathered along the coast to view storm swells associated with the hurricane, made even larger with a high tide at 1:38 p.m. that afternoon. After several hours of sustained swells of 12 to 15 feet, a much larger wave hit the coast at noon and struck a group of approximately 20 people in the vicinity of Thunder Hole. Seven were swept into the water. Four were able to climb out on their own and three were swept out into the ocean. Park staff staged in that area responded immediately and began to treat injuries such as broken bones and dislocations. Eleven people were transported to the Mount Desert Island Hospital. At the same time, rangers notified the U.S. Coast Guard and directed them to the three people in the water. The Coast Guard rescued an adult male and a 12-year-old girl from the water within an hour of the incident. Both were transported to the Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor for treatment of their injuries. The third person, a seven-year-old girl, was recovered by the Coast Guard three and a half hours after the incident.  She did not survive. In anticipation of Hurricane Bill, increased numbers of park rangers and signs were in place to warn visitors of potentially dangerous conditions. Earlier in the day, areas of the park had been closed as surf conditions rose. Increased wave activity is forecast for the area over the next several days.


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