Real-time Earth and Moon phase

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Freaque wave hits Boston ferry

Hmmm, this freaque wave news case happened a week ago just now come to my attention:
Five miles off the coast of Massachusetts, a passenger ferry was hit by a rouge 20-foot wave, breaking windows and disabling the vessel. The wave damaged the ferry’s generator and one of the ferry’s crew members was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital with minor injuries, according to Boston Herald on Aug. 14. 
The commuter ferry travels from Provincetown, at the tip of Cape Cod, to Boston. The boat was stuck about five miles off the coast of Scituate, reports WHDH Boston today. The wave seemingly came out of nowhere and just left the boat sitting dead in the water with 42 passengers on board on Wednesday afternoon, reports the Boston Globe.Passengers described the ordeal as “the boat sort of tips down in the water, almost as if it was going to flip over,” said Ariel Shurm, 22, of Boston. He was returning back to Boston after a family vacation on the Cape. The seas weren't unusually rough, but all of a sudden a "green sheet of water" came barreling toward the ship. It hit the ship, doing most of the damage to the captain's level, which sits 20-feet above the water line. 
The crew passed out life-jackets and panic set in with one woman screaming "the boat is sinking," according to Mail Online today. Water was rolling down the walls in the cabin area of the vessel and people were scared. This is not an area accustomed to waves big enough to tip over a boat of this size and people who frequent the ferry know this, making this wave event a bit out of the norm and frightening for them. 
There was initial panic on board when the wave hit, but because they were stuck out in the water with little to do, Shurm, who is a Berklee College of Music student, whipped out his trumpet and gave an impromptu concert for the stranded passengers. Shurm plays the trumpet for the popular local Boston rock band The Interlopers, tried to calm the passengers with his music and it seemed to do the trick!
At one point he played the theme to “Jaws” just as a joke. He also said he played a lot of “ocean-themed stuff.” 
Coast Guard officials confirmed that the passenger ferry was hit by a large wave rendering the vessel “briefly disabled.” The incident happened a little after 4 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon. The ferry is owned and operated by the Bay State Cruise Company. 
The Coast Guard dispatched a 47-foot motor life boat along with an 87-foot cutter out to the stranded ferry to assist in restoring the generator, which was knocked out when the wave hit, according to the Boston Globe. Once fixed, the boat continued on to its original destination to its dock in the Seaport District in Boston. It arrived around 7 p.m., a few hours later than usual. 
One person was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital with injuries, but no further information on what those injuries were was made available.
It appears that it was the reporting media that's calling it as an encounter with freaque wave, Coast Guard officials only confirmed that it was "hit by a large wave". Anyway there were minor damage and injury, some panic, just a minor mishap that caused some inconvenience.  May be that's why the news did not spread.

Updates:

This Thursday Boston Globe news article gave more details on the waves;
A series of large waves shattered windows and disabled power on the Provincetown IV ferry on Wednesday afternoon, leaving more than 40 people stranded five miles off the coast of Scituate. 
CBS Boston reported that the ferry, operated by the Bay State Cruise Company, was traveling from Provincetown to Boston with 42 people on board when it was hit by what the company described as “an anomalously large set of waves.” Two windows were shattered and the ship’s captain suffered a minor injury to his hand, according to the report. 
While most waves were reported to be roughly five feet tall, some passengers on board the ferry told WHDH that the waves that disabled the ship were nearly 20 feet tall.

A report from The Boston Globe added that the crew contacted the Coast Guard shortly after 4 p.m. and two ships, a 47-foot life boat and an 87-foot cutter, responded to the scene nearly five miles off the coast of Scituate. According to the report, the ferry’s generator was eventually restored and it was able to slowly return to port without being towed. It finally returned to dock at approximately 7 p.m., according to The Globe.
We should all be thankful that this freaque wave encounter case had only minor damage and injury. At any rate, however, it was a real encounter case with an unexpected large wave or waves -- which the ferry company described them as "anomalously large set of waves".  As the size estimates of the waves varied between 5 and 20 feet indicates the difficulty of getting a realistic estimate from eye witnesses.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Tragedy caused by a huge wave at Maui beach

This tragic sad case happened over two weeks ago in Maui, Hawaii according to this USA Today article entitled "Rogue wave kills mom in Maui" by Newser Staff Elizabeth Armstrong Moore, July 22, 2014:
(NEWSER) – Flight attendant Wendi Van Briesen was bodysurfing with her 13-year-old son, Tanner, in Maui when a huge wave turned the family's first vacation to Hawaii tragic, knocking her unconscious, shattering two of her vertebrae and putting her into a coma. 
Van Briesen's husband, Aaron, and 11-year-old daughter, McKenna, witnessed the accident from the beach, and Aaron, a schoolteacher, pulled her out of the water and performed CPR. A week later, the Arizona native died while on life support, reports Arizona's 3TV
"There are no words to describe it when you walk in and see her on a ventilator," her sister-in-law told Hawaii News Now. "It's been absolutely awful for our family—to go on vacation in Hawaii for the first time and go straight from an airplane to a hospital." 
The family had planned to fly to Kauai for the remainder of their vacation, but are instead flying home to Gilbert, Ariz., to plan the funeral. 
What a sad tragic case. Any thing can happen near the beach, but this one happened at the Maui beach caused by this freaque huge wave is very, very sad indeed. With shattered vertebrae tat put her in coma, she just did not have a chance to escape before its happening all of a sudden. "No words to describe it" is the only description that one can come up with. It's just too sad! We can only pray to God to help this family to cope this tragic happening.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

April tragidy at Tenerife

I just came across this UK DailyMail article earlier this year which I missed to notice when it happened in April of this year. As customery of  DailyMail articles, a long headline just about tells the whole story:
Two British doctors swept to their death by waves as they try to rescue their children from the water at holiday beach off Tenerife (Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2598611/Two-British-women-drown-sea-trying-rescue-children-holiday-island-Tenerife.html#ixzz39WMUsPt8).
It is the human tragidy we wish it'll never happen. One of the most relevant key description in the words of one of the rescurers in the article is this:
"What they had been doing was standing on the rocks looking at the waves crashing in. Unfortunately one of those waves was so big it crashed in and swept them out to sea. The girl I rescued wasn’t even in swimwear, she was in shorts and a T-shirt."
Just everyday ordinary happenings, but this time it led to tragidy! How can one prevant it even if we know it will happen?!? But we do know it will happen, just that we don't know where, when, how, and why they will happen!

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Swept out to sea


Here are a short list of recent news reports from around the world:
Australia SkyNews July 10, 2014: "The boy was swept into the surf about 1350 AEST on Thursday".

UK Mirror July 10, 2014: "Frantic search for five-yuear-old boy swept out to sea by huge wave during family holiday".

NewsonJapan June 20, 2014: "5 children swept out to sea in Miyazaki; one drowns".

Peninsula Daily News July 5, 2014: "Body of Chimacum girl, 11, swept out to sea by riptide found this morning".

UK News Letter August 1, 2014: "Five children saved as they were being swept out to sea".

It is just a sample showing wha thas been happening. The list is by no means complete. What I am trying to show here is that all these items have one thing in common -- they all carried the words "swept out to sea"! Yes, 4 simple words put together form an unpleasant, sometimes tragic, aspect of life that can happen near the ocean beach and nearshore area, even onboard seagoing ships in the open ocean. These cases were happened recently. Of course there must be cases that happened locally not being reported and available on the internet news system. So when go out enjoy the beaches, be careful, beware, and be alert. Have a safe and enjoyable beach outing!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The new freaque waves article in NewScientist magazine

The latest NewScientist (Issue 2979) carried this online article by Stephen Ornes entitled "Rogue waves: The real monsters of the deep" just caught my eye. What I was surprised to see was this:

Seven giants
In 2007, Paul Liu at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration compiled a catalogue of more than 50 historical incidents probably associated with rogue waves. Here are some of the most significant . . .


Hmm . . .  I know that my Geofizika article has been reasonably well referenced, but this NewScientist citing is still a surprise to me.  Here's a discussion in a paragraph in the early part of the article:
Science has been slow to catch up with rogue waves. There is not even any universally accepted definition. One with wide currency is that a rogue is at least double the significant wave height, itself defined as the average height of the tallest third of waves in any given region. What this amounts to is a little dependent on context: on a calm sea with significant waves 10 centimetres tall, a wave of 20 centimetres might be deemed a rogue.
The lament about the lack of "universally accepted" definition is fine. But the dismissing of possible of a 20 cm high freaque waves is unnecessary.  Freaque waves may be able to reach tens of meters high, but its existence is not necessarily measured by its sice alone. An important characteristics of freaque waves  the definition can not be delineated is the unexpectedness of the occurrence of the wave. Even a wave of 20 cm tall, if it occurs unexpectedly, it will be a freaque wave nevertheless!

Over all this is the best general article on freaque waves written by a science writer I have ever read.  He must have done extensive researches on the topic of freaque waves.  I don't know if he had actually talked to the key players he cited in his article, but his choice of players and representing their works all admirably.

For this article I signed up for a short term subscription to NewScientist -- the only way to allow me the access the article in whole right now, it's worth it!




Sunday, July 27, 2014

Rescue below the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

Independent, Irish has this story happened on July 6 written by Michelle Smyth published on July 7:


Kayakers had to be rescued from below the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge on the Co Antrim coast after a freak wave struck their vessels at the weekend. 
One of the rescued men, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was out kayaking with three of his friends near the bridge on Saturday when two of the men were knocked into the water and pushed towards rocks by a huge wave. "We are all fairly experienced kayakers and we would be out in the water a lot," said the kayaker, from Ballymena. 
"It was a shock this happened. I would like to thank the Coastguard and RNLI for their speedy response. They carried out a challenging rescue with the utmost professionalism." 
A vigilant National Trust employee raised the alarm and the Ballycastle and Coleraine Coastguard rushed to the scene, as well as Portrush Lifeboat. The two men, who had sought safety on rocks, were winched to safety by two rescue technicians and treated for minor injuries. 
- See more at: http://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/rescue-drama-after-kayakers-hit-by-freak-wave-30411132.html#sthash.sduZNbw5.dpuf



Here is one of the published pictures showing the Coast Guard rescue in action underneath the famous land mark rope bridge.  

Happened at St John’s Point, Co Donegal, Ireland

Independent.Ie carried this news headline today: "Presbyterian minister drowns after being struck by freak wave" :

Rev Dr Stewart Jones, who was minister of Donemana Presbyterian Church in Strabane Co Tyrone,  got into difficulty shortly after he was struck by a freak wave during a dive at St John’s Point in Co Donegal on Saturday evening at 4.30pm.The two divers got into difficulties not far from the shore at St John’s Point, Co DonegalThe Coastguard helicopter was dspatched to scene after the alarm was raised yesterday evening around 4.30pmCPR was performed on the man on the beach.The victim, aged in his 50s and believed to be from Strabane in Co Tyrone, was airlifted to Sligo Hospital during a rescue operation on Saturday.Ian Scott, from Malin Head Coastguard, said cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was carried out.
"Sadly, despite administering CPR, from when the diver was recovered until his arrival at hospital, the man died."

So freaque caused a tragedy in Ireland today. The victim was A Presbyterian Minister and a experience diver. We don't know how and why. It just happened! The article can found in:  

Friday, July 18, 2014

Just ferret out: Two cases of freaque wave encounters in 1942 and 1977.

On Google search, with the help of using key words of  "Google news freaque waves" I came across this two pieces of old news paper gem news on freaque waves:

Freak Wave Drowns Seven in Lake Erie, from May 31, 1942's Pittsburgh Press;
and
Five Die After Trawler is Hit By Freak Wave, from The Glasgow Herald, Dec. 6, 1977.

I was particularly interested in an eyewitness account in the 1942 Lake Erie case:
     One fisherman described the waveas an enormous black wall that blotted out everything and rushed in with a deep, rolling rumble. 
     The only warning he said, was a shrieking noise like a siren which proceded the wave.
which was copied from the hardly legible original newspaper:


Whether or not freaque waves make noise is still unsettled. Obviously there are freaque waves that don't make noises, but some did. This case in Lake Erie in 1942 was one of them -- a shrieking siren like sound described by an eyewitness would dispel any possible room for doubt!

Some other rather contrasting notes about these two cases: both reports used the term "freak wave" in the headline, both cases were tragic that involved unfortunate multiple life loses, while the Lake Erie case may have influenced by weather condition, i.e. sudden shift in wind, the Glasgow Herald report indicated the weather was "quite reasonable".

These two cases, 35 years apart, happened long before freaque waves ever become sensationally infatuated by the modern media types. One might even gather useful informations on freaque wave happenings from these old news reports that still valued and retains journalistic integrity.