Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bill turns deadly


EDGARTOWN, Mass. -- Rescue crews were searching Sunday afternoon for three people who were swept into the sea after a large wave, an effect of Hurricane Bill, washed over a crowd watching the surf in Maine.

A crowd at Acadia National Park was gathered on some rocks when the wave washed over them. Two other people who were swept into the ocean were recovered. The Coast Guard and search crews are looking for the three others.

"This is absolutely the effects of Hurricane Bill" coupled with the effect of high tide, park ranger Sonya Berger said.

Bill was being blamed for the death of a 54-year-old swimmer in Florida, who was killed Saturday. Volusia County Beach Patrol Capt. Scott Petersohn said Angel Rosa of Orlando was unconscious when he washed ashore in rough waves fueled by Bill at New Smyrna Beach along the central Florida coast. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Lifeguards there also rescued a handful of other swimmers with suspected spinal injuries.

Bill was about 60 miles east-southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Sunday afternoon, according to the National Hurricane Center. Its maximum sustained winds had dropped to 80 mph, and it was moving northeast at 35 mph. The storm is expected to continue to weaken as it moves over cooler waters.

Several people also had to be rescued from the water in Massachusetts, including a couple of kayakers who got stranded in the heavy seas off Plymouth, said Peter Judge, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

He said strong rip tides and beach erosion were the biggest concerns Sunday.

"Our biggest thing right now is just the rough surf," he said.

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