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3 Fishermen Rescued After Boat Sinks Off Scituate

SCITUATE (CBS) - First responders rescued three fishermen after their fishing boat sank off Fourth Cliff in Scituate on Tuesday afternoon.

Shortly after 2:30, a witness reported seeing a fishing boat overturn, sink, and black smoke fill the air. She noticed the three fishermen, who were presumably on the ocean scalloping, clinging onto debris to stay afloat.

Without that woman's 911 call, the men might have died, the fire chief said.

Pam Harght witnessed the incident from her window at Humarock as she was on a work call from home. "I was on this call and I was kind of getting more and more stressed in terms of like, I don't see anybody showing up, this is not good," she told WBZ. "And of course it's freezing out. The clock is ticking."

The water was 42 degrees, the fire chief said, and the three men, all around 250 pounds each, clung onto the floating hoses from their sunken boat in the freezing water for 45 minutes to an hour.

"They were helpless," Scituate Fire Chief John Murphy explained. "Clinging for life, holding onto the side the floating hoses, and by the time we were able to get them in the boat with rope to them, they couldn't even do that."

First responders had to physically lift the men onto the lifeboats, as they were barely able to move due to the frigid temperatures.

The Scituate Police and Fire Departments made the rescues with the help of the Harbormaster and the U.S. Coast Guard.

The men were brought back to ambulances as quickly as possible, and rushed to South Shore Hospital. The fire chief reported that they were suffering from serious hypothermia and likely other injuries due to saltwater and diesel fuel intake from the sunken boat.

While first responders may have made the physical rescue, without Pam Harght's 911 call, they say these men could have died.

"We probably would've found them on the beach tomorrow realistically," Chief Murphy said. "Nobody would've found them."

Pam Harght told WBZ she witnessed the boat go under in less than 60 seconds, but was on a work call and was sure somebody else would've called 911. Little to her knowledge, nobody had, and as she contemplated the freezing waters and the seriousness of the situation, she hopped off her work call and instead called dispatch. "I was like well for my own peace I need to know that this was reported, and if I'm the 20th person to call, so be it."

Her takeaway? Don't hesitate. "I would just hope if anybody else saw that, no matter how important your work or whatever you are doing is, you would take the two minutes to call 911, that's what they're here for," she said.

The town of Scituate has not released the men's names nor their conditions as of Tuesday night.

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