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Inmates Help In Water Rescue Off San Quentin; Boater Dies

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Boat capsize; San Quentin Prison,

A victim of a capsized boat off San Quentin State Prison arrives at the hospital, April 20, 2011. (CBS)

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SAN QUENTIN (KCBS) – A man has died after he and a woman were washed onto the shore of San Quentin State Prison early Wednesday morning when their boat capsized in San Francisco Bay.  Authorities said inmates with the prison fire department assisted in the rescue.

San Rafael Fire Battalion Chief Jeff Buscher said a man and a woman were in a small boat that overturned at San Quentin Point just after 1 a.m.

“They were standing on the shore off the prison, down an embankment, so we had to use ropes to bring one of the victims up,” said Buscher. “The woman was suffering from hypothermia, and the man was in cardiac arrest.”

The motor in their 12-foot craft had stalled, and in trying to get it started, the man fell overboard, tipping the boat and capsizing it. Buscher does not believe the man was wearing a life vest, but the woman was. She managed to get him to the shore.

Guards at San Quentin saw the two struggling in the water and called the prison fire department and Coast Guard.  San Quentin’s fire department employs a number of inmates who assisted in the rescue.

Both were taken to local hospitals, where the man died later Wednesday morning. The Marin County coroner’s office identified the man as James
Laurel, 44, of Larkspur.

Buscher said he had no idea why the couple was in the small boat at that time of the morning.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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