An 18-year-old Annapolis man survived overnight Sunday in the Chesapeake Bay by clinging to a sailboat's hull after it had flipped, authorities said.
Thomas Lundvall, of Annapolis, worked with his father on Saturday repairing his 16-foot catamaran daysailer. But hours later, a strong gust of wind caused the vessel to capsize while he was alone on the Chesapeake Bay after midnight.
Lundvall managed to get on top of the overturned hull and stayed there for nine hours until a freighter going into the Port of Baltimore spotted him. He was flown to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore with symptoms of hypothermia.
His body temperature had dropped to 88 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Maryland Natural Resources Police (MNRP) spokesman Art Windemuth.
Anne Arundel County Fire Department Battalion Chief Steve Thompson said emergency officials were alerted at 8:40 a.m. Sunday for help with a water rescue on the Chesapeake Bay.
Thompson said Lundvall was fortunate to have survived the hypothermia overnight, but he was also very lucky he was not run over by large ships because he was in the middle of a shipping channel.
"He's a very lucky gentleman," Thompson said.
Windemuth said Lundvall left the Bay Ridge Community pier alone at around midnight Sunday and capsized shortly afterward due to high winds.
"He encountered a strong gust of wind, which caused it to flip. There was also an indication that there was some structural failure from the hull," Windemuth said. "We are also investigating whether alcohol played a factor in this."
Windemuth issued a warning to Maryland boaters that although the air temperature is rising, the water is still in the low 50s.
"Hypothermia is a real and present danger to those who become wet," he said. "We urge all boaters to consider that before they go out on the water—dress accordingly."
To avoid situations like Lundvall's, Windemuth said boaters should carry a way of communicating with emergency officials, whether it's a radio or a waterproofed cell phone.
Odenton Patch editor Tim Lemke contributed to this story.