7 Rescued From Tomales Bay Sandbar After Boat Capsizes

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(CBS)

POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE (CBS SF) — Seven people, including three good Samaritans, were rescued Sunday afternoon after they became stranded on a sandbar in Tomales Bay, Sonoma County sheriff’s Sgt. Dave Thompson said.

Four Oakland residents were searching for clams on Clam Island, a sandbar known for clam digging during low tide, Sgt Dave Thompson said.

They became cut off from the mainland by the bay water, and were soaking wet and in danger because of the incoming waves and wind, Thompson said.

Three Fairfield residents in a 14-foot aluminum boat tried to rescue the four stranded clam diggers, but the seven people overcrowded the boat, partially capsizing it, Thompson said.

The U.S. Coast Guard in Bodega Bay was unable to launch a boat and notified the sheriff’s helicopter unit of the incident around 1 p.m., Thompson said.

The helicopter crew responded within 15 minutes and landed on sand that was not yet underwater, Thompson said.

The helicopter crew made three trips to transport the seven stranded clam diggers and would-be rescuers to Lawson’s landing a quarter-mile away, Thompson said.

The seven people were treated for exposure at the scene by Marin County and Bodega Bay fire personnel, Thompson said.

Winds were strong at the time of the rescue and small craft advisory was in effect. The sandbar had nearly disappeared under water by the end of the rescue, Thompson said.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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