At Least 1 Dead from Rogue Hurricane Wave

People watch as water breaches a rock wall at Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia, Canada, Sunday, August 23, 2009. Five people watching the surf from Hurricane Bill were swept out to sea at Acadia National Park in Maine. Two had been recovered and three were still missing as of 5 p.m. ET Sunday.
AP Photo/Canadian Press/Tim Krochak
Updated 8:45 p.m. EDT

The Coast Guard says a 7-year-old girl has died after a large wave stirred up by Hurricane Bill swept her and two others off a rocky ledge at Acadia National Park in Maine.

The rogue wave from Hurricane Bill swept spectators out to sea as the storm-churned surf attracted onlookers and daredevils along the Eastern Seaboard.

Steve McCausland of the Maine Public Safety Department says the girl's name isn't being released but that she was from New York state. The girl was one of three people plucked from the water by rescuers. The other two were a man and a 12-year-old girl who were hospitalized.

The Coast Guard says the girl was unresponsive when she was rescued.

The three who were swept to sea 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.

"It was actually a rogue wave resulting from a groundswell," Coast Guard spokesman Chief Petty Officer Joseph Tallent told CBS News. "Possibly more than 20 people were involved in this. Nine people were taken to the hospital at Mt. Desert Island and three people were swept to sea."

"If two waves come together at exactly the right place, that can cause bigger rogue waves to form and those are very dangerous," said Jeff Beradelli, meteorologist for CBS station WFOR in Miami.

Although Bill stayed several hundred miles out to sea, meteorologists warn large waves and dangerous rip currents from Florida to Maine remain a threat.

In Daytona, Fla. rough seas lashed the coast, and 20 miles to the south, a 54-year-old man drowned while body surfing, reports CBS News correspondent Randall Pinkston.

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.

Up the coast in Wrightsville Beach, N.C., rip currents sent life guards to rescue at least 50 swimmers.

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 lose strength as it moves over cooler waters.

Along Nova Scotia's Atlantic coast, the storm delivered steady downpours and fierce winds, forcing flight cancellations and temporary road closings. Bill ripped branches from trees in Halifax and elsewhere, and there was some localized flooding. Some 40,000 Nova Scotia Power customers lost power, but it was gradually being restored Sunday.

Craig MacLaughlan, CEO of Nova Scotia's Emergency Management Office, said no major damage has been reported in the province.

"We can be blessed that it has moved off a bit and that we're not getting some of the damage that we thought (we would)," he said.

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 east.

Several people 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 Libby.