|David Hanson seemed to be swallowing water and showed symptoms of hypothermia. (myfoxboston.com)|
Kingston man, 19, drowns off Plymouth
A 19-year-old emergency medical technician who had dreams of becoming a firefighter drowned in the waters off Plymouth Harbor early yesterday morning after the 15-foot recreational boat he was in took on water and sank.
Coast Guard crews raced to the scene and rescued the boat’s owner, who was clinging to a buoy, but could not locate 19-year-old David Hanson of Kingston. A Jayhawk helicopter spotted him just before 3 a.m., roughly 3 1/2 hours after the boat started taking on water, and directed a 47-foot Coast Guard boat to his location. He was unconscious and was transported to Jordan Hospital in Plymouth, where he was pronounced dead.
Hanson’s father, Keith, said yesterday that the family was grieving for an adventurous teenager who was told countless times that he should not have been out on the boat after dark, but who could not turn down a journey with a close friend.
“They were good friends that did a lot together,’’ Keith Hanson said yesterday. “It’s hard not to tell [a teenager] not to do certain things.’’
Hanson said he spoke with the boat owner, 20-year-old Wayne Carlson, at the hospital early yesterday morning. Carlson told him that the two had not been drinking or doing anything otherwise illegal, but that they exercised poor judgment in taking the boat out at dark.
“They shouldn’t have been out there in the boat,’’ Keith Hanson said. “It was lack of judgment and two inexperienced guys who shouldn’t have been out there. It’s like playing Russian roulette.’’
State Police assigned to the office of Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz have concluded that foul play was not involved.
The two men had apparently left Kingston Harbor and were heading to Plymouth Harbor when the boat started taking on water about 2 miles east of their destination, authorities said.
Carlson put out a distress call at 11:22 p.m. Tuesday, alerting authorities that the boat was taking on water, according to the Coat Guard and the Plymouth harbormaster. Around 1 a.m. yesterday, a worried friend of the men waiting for them at Plymouth Harbor told authorities about their route, helping rescue crews narrow their search.
At 2 a.m., a Coast Guard boat found Carlson clinging to the buoy. The Jayhawk spotted Hanson about a half hour later.
Both wore lifejackets but apparently suffered from the cold of the night. Air temperature was 46 degrees with winds of about 5 miles per hour, and water temperature was 57 degrees.
Keith Hanson said Carlson told him that he was able to grab a buoy and that Hanson was alongside him, but at one point he seemed to be swallowing water and showed symptoms of hypothermia.
“He just kind of slipped away,’’ Hanson’s father said. “We’re at a loss for words.’’
Hanson was about to graduate from Massasoit Community College and was on the civil service list to become a Kingston firefighter, his father said. He drove an ambulance for Exodus Mountain Inc. of Brockton and was preparing to take a paramedic exam. He also worked as a security guard at the Hanover Mall.
Recently, Hanson returned from a relief mission in Haiti with his church, St. Joseph’s Parish in Kingston. He was an Eagle Scout, and his project two years ago was to help in the restoration of the Surprise Hose House on Main Street, as a dedication to firefighters.
Retired fire chief David McKee, who worked with Hanson on his Eagle Scout project, said he would always see the teenager at the fire station, trying to understand the workings of the department.
“He had a desire to become a firefighter, and he had a passion for his country and his community,’’ McKee said. “He was a throwback to a different age when a young man learned to serve their country and their community,, and you don’t see that every day.
“It’s just a tragic, tragic loss,’’ McKee said. “You just don’t expect something like this, somebody so young and such a good kid.’’