Of the things that could have interrupted her quiet shore day (errant beach ball, hungry seagull, quick-moving storm), Lafayette Hill resident Anna Habel never expected to be startled by something so significant. Trish Hartman, 6abc, sifted the story of what caused Habel to abandon her book.
Habel and her beachgoing friends were stretched out near Townsend’s Inlet earlier this month, enjoying the sun and sand.
Her reading session, however, was interrupted by a loud, gnashing sound.
“I had my head in the book,” she said, “And I hear this … like it was so loud. I was stunned. I looked up. My friends were next to me and said, ‘Oh my God, the boat hit the bridge!'”
The noise Habel and others heard was indeed the sound of a Starfish Boats’ fishing vessel striking the Townsend’s Inlet bridge, which connects Sea Isle City with Avalon.
The boat was returning from a four-hour fishing excursion when it hit.
The exact cause is still being investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard; however, some passengers did note windy conditions.
The vessel began to take on water, but the captain calmly passed out life jackets and guided all 24 people aboard to safety, including an 88-year-old woman.
In the aftermath, the Cape May County Bridge Commission declared the bridge to be safe, requiring only minor repairs.
A follow-up Facebook post from Starfish Boats indicated its hopes to repair the boat and relaunch soon.
More on Anna Habel and her earwitness account of a watery accident is at 6abc.