MIT Crew Team Rescued When Boats Capsize on Charles River

Two boats containing an MIT crew team had to be rescued from the Charles River Friday morning after they capsized during separate incidents due to windy conditions.

The Cambridge Fire Department announced the first rescue effort at 7:17 a.m. Crews responded to aid the passengers, whose boat capsized near the Longfellow Bridge.

At about 7:50 a.m., Cambridge Fire responded to another capsized boat near 409 Memorial Dr. Authorities said the people were picked up by Marine units.

Fire officials said eight to 10 people were on the first boat and 9 people were on the second boat. According to officials with MIT, both were crew teams.

"Luckily everybody is safe and that’s what's important," said Patrick, one of the MIT rowers. "The emergency crew was super helpful and nobody is hurt that we know of. So all in all it's not a disaster by any means."

The people involved in the second incident were evaluated by emergency personnel at a nearby pier, Cambridge Fire said.

No serious injuries were reported in either incident.

It is unclear what caused the boats to capsize, but gusty winds blew through the region Friday morning, blowing up to 40 mph at times. Due to astronomical high tides, minor coastal flooding and coastal erosion were expected.

Cambridge Fire Lt. Peter Melo said the conditions made the rescues difficult, and probably caused the boats to overturn in the first place.

"Their positioning next to the bridge with the wind blowing into the bridge made controlling the boat a little less than desirable," said Melo.

MIT released a statement following the incident:

"All of the student-athletes were removed from the boats, were returned to the MIT boathouse and are doing well. There was some slight equipment damage to one shell, but nothing serious. There was a coach's launch accompanying the crew team as they practiced and the damage to the shell is able to be repaired."

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