EDGARTOWN, Mass. (Aug. 23) — A rogue wave from Hurricane Bill swept spectators out to sea at a Maine park Sunday as the storm-churned surf attracted
onlookers and daredevils along the Eastern Seaboard.
Rescue crews were searching for people believed to be lost in the waves near Acadia National Park as a man, a woman and a 7-year-old girl were pulled
from the sea, Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Shane Coxon.
The three were part of an early afternoon crowd that had gathered on some rocks at the park's Thunder Hole, a popular tourist attraction where waves
often crash into a crevasse and make a thundering sound while splashing high in the air.
"This is absolutely the effects of Hurricane Bill" coupled with the effect of high tide, park ranger Sonya Berger said.
The girl was unresponsive when she was rescued, the woman appeared to have a broken leg and the man had a previous heart condition that appeared to be
acting up, Coxon said. Other people are believed to still be lost in the waves but Coxon did not know how many. The waves were running 10 to 12 feet
high with 25-knot winds along the coast, he said.
Bill was also blamed for the death of a 54-year-old swimmer who was killed Saturday in Florida. 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 believed to have suffered spinal injuries.
The center of the hurricane was about 400 miles west-southwest of Newfoundland late Sunday afternoon, according to the National Hurricane Center. Its
maximum sustained winds had dropped to 75 mph, and it was moving northeast at 35 mph. The storm is expected to continue to weaken as it moves over
The storm drew onlookers hoping to catch a glimpse of crashing waves as it marched through Atlantic Canada.
Despite repeated warnings, people gathered in Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia, and along the boardwalk in downtown Halifax as swells grew steadily in
strength and size.
"So far, it's pretty wild," said Heather Wright, who was walking along the Halifax harbor.
"We're not going right to the edges or nothing. And we're here mainly to sightsee a bit and go back home and ride it out."
The National Hurricane Center had lifted the tropical storm warning for the Massachusetts coastline, including Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket early
Sunday morning, and President Barack Obama and his family arrived on Cape Cod on Sunday afternoon for vacation after the storm had passed well to the
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.
Dozens of people showed up at South Beach on Martha's Vineyard with their cameras and camcorders to watch the big waves and churning Atlantic.
Tony Dorsey of Gofftown, N.H., has a camp on the Vineyard. He said the waves came up to the top of the dunes at South Beach during high tide, and
included "good-size rollers.
"It overwhelmed the beach," he said. "It reformed the beach. It's not destroyed a lot, but it's going to reshape the beach."
The storm delayed or halted ferry services from New York to Maine, and kept many beaches closed.
In Montauk, N.Y., swimmers weren't allowed in the water, but surfers were out riding the waves. State parks spokesman George Gorman said almost 2,000
surfers showed up at Montauk on Sunday — the most ever counted there. They enjoyed waves that reached as high as 16 feet.
Some areas that had prepared for the worst saw nothing. Libby Russ, who owns the Three Belles Marina in Niantic, Conn., said a few swimming floats
were hauled in from Long Island Sound on Saturday, but that was the extent of the excitement.
"We didn't have a stitch of breeze," said