Nine people including several children had to be rescued after their boat hit a wake and most of them were thrown overboard off the coast of Rhode Island.
Authorities say the Boston Whaler hit the wake of a passing Block Island Ferry at an excessive speed at about noon Wednesday.
Eight people were thrown into the water and the boat was swamped.
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Narragansett Harbormaster Kevin Connors, who participated on the rescue, says no one was seriously hurt but the children were "petrified." They were wearing life jackets.
WJAR reports the Coast Guard vessel rescued the four children on the boat, while a good Samaritan took the adults on another boat.
The Coast Guard said the operator, who was not named, was cited for negligent operation for overloading the boat. The vessel is designed to hold just six people. The owner of the boat was also cited for having no registration on board, and no horn or whistle.