‘Could Have Been Bad': Officer Recalls Rescuing 5, Including Baby, Off Coast of Ipswich

A 14-month-old baby, a pregnant woman and three others were rescued by police after their boat capsized Saturday off the coast of Ipswich, Massachusetts

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A first responder is telling his story after helping save five people, including a pregnant woman and a baby, who were on a boat that capsized this weekend off the coast of Ipswich, Massachusetts.

"They were about 200 or 300 yards offshore," said Ipswich officer Matthew Bodwell, the town's assistant harbormaster.

Bodwell was patrolling the waters of Plum Island Sound when the mayday call came in for a capsized boat.

"As I turned to look to my left, I could see a gentleman's hand in the air," said Bodwell.

What he didn't know until he pulled closer was five people were in the water — including a pregnant woman and a 14-month-old girl.

"Changed the scenario, because your first immediate thought is to get that child out of the water because you don't want the worst outcome," said Bodwell.

A pregnant woman and a baby were among those rescued.

The group is on vacation from Connecticut. The adults are in their 30s. Police say they are not marine or water savvy, and they were using a friend's boat. None of them wore lifejackets.

"Everybody kind of had a hand on the baby while they were in the water, plus they were holding the boat," said Bodwell. "It was a little bit of chaos. Surprisingly, it wasn't, no one was screaming crazy, but they were definitely in panic mode."

He didn't realize one of the women is pregnant until he went to pull her into his boat.

"'I can't come out on my stomach,' [she said]. And, I said, 'Oh what's wrong and she said, 'Oh, I am pregnant,'" Bodwell recalled. So, I had to pull her out," said Bodwell.

The small aluminum boat capsized in a mooring area in Plum Island Sound.

A neighboring boater called in the mayday Saturday afternoon. The waters were rough. Bodwell says when the group shifted their weight in the boat, it took on water and went over.

"It could have been bad," said Bodwell.

Bodwell happened to be right there. He made sure medics were waiting on shore to check the group out and everyone was OK.

"I don't look at myself as a hero. I just look at myself as the guy doing his job that he's supposed to be doing," said Bodwell.

Coast Guard-approved flotation devices are mandatory for children under 12, but the police do not anticipate citing the family, saying they are glad no one was hurt.

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