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Boat owner helps in Chesapeake Bay rescue

In a dramatic early morning rescue on Wednesday, firefighters pulled to safety four people who had clung to a capsized motorboat for hours in waters off Deal Island in Maryland.

"Four were hanging onto the side of a vessel when [Maryland] Natural Resources Police arrived," Sgt. Brian Albert told The (Salisbury, Md.) Daily Times. "These people are very lucky. They put life jackets on and the life jackets are what saved their lives."

The incident was reported about 1:30 a.m., although the boaters had clung to the side of the 16-foot Carolina Skiff for about five hours before help arrived, Albert told the paper.

The boat's owner, 70-year-old John Riggs of Salisbury, reportedly swam several hours to shore wearing a life jacket. He alerted authorities, Albert said.

In all, five people on a fishing trip were aboard when the boat capsized during a storm, Albert said. Riggs reportedly knocked on the door of a local resident for help.

A search by police, as well as the Mount Vernon and Deal Island fire departments and the Coast Guard, located the boat and passengers in waters off Chesapeake Bay near Deal Island and Chance in far western Somerset County.

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