Cape Cod Times Photo
A fishing boat captain from Cape Cod died while trying to rescue one of his crewmen who fell overboard off the coast of Nantucket early this morning, the Coast Guard said.
Captain John Zuzick, 53, of Harwich put on a survival suit and dove into the chilly water shortly before 5 a.m. after the crewman working on deck fell.
The crewman, Bill Silva, fell while trying to untangle some line that was caught in a propeller of the Silver Fox, a 60-foot clam dredge. The fouled line had disabled the vessel, and it had gone adrift. The two men were unable to make it back on board.
Zuzick’s wife told the Cape Cod Times that her husband had suffered a heart attack. The Times reported that Silva, who was not wearing any survival gear, survived by clinging to Zuzick for more than 30 minutes.
The boat went adrift about 2 miles east of Sankaty Head Light, on the east coast of Nantucket. One fisherman, Rich Caprio, remained in the boat and radioed for help.
An HH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter scrambled out of Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod and a rescue boat deployed from Coast Guard Station Brant Point on Nantucket, the Coast Guard said. The helicopter arrived at 5:40 a.m. and deployed a rescue swimmer.
The helicopter hoisted both men aboard and flew them to Nantucket Cottage Hospital.
Zuzick was declared dead a short time later. Silva was treated and released yesterday, a hospital spokesman said.
‘‘It was sad we found one person who died, but at the same time we are happy one man was saved,’’ Royal Australian Navy Lieutenant Benny Wenban, an exchange pilot serving with the Coast Guard who participated in the rescue mission, said in a statement. ‘‘We would like to express our condolences to the family of the deceased.’’
The fishing vessel Mandy Lynn, based in New Bedford, arrived soon after the rescue to tow the Silver Fox back to shore.
The Silver Fox is registered out of Cape May, N.J., but it operates locally out of Hyannis, according to Coast Guard officials.
Waters were calm but cold today. Seas were less than one foot, winds were 5 to 10 knots, and the water temperature was about 55 degrees, according to the Coast Guard.
Globe correspondent Jack Nicas contributed to this report.
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