Nantucket boat missing since 2008 found drifting off Spain
Photo courtesy of Massachusetts Environmental Police
This Nantucket fishing boat was lost off Smith's Point in August 2008 and was just discovered drifting off the north shore of Spain.
(Jan. 25, 2012 ) Scott Douglas and Rich St. Pierre vividly remember the wave that threw them from their powerboat off the western shores of Nantucket in August 2008, and the sight of the vessel floating away into the open ocean.
The men survived the ordeal and managed to swim to Estherâ€™s Island where they were rescued by Nantucket marine authorities, but their boat, the Queen Bee, wasnâ€™t seen again. Until now.
The red dot on this map indicates the location of Llanes, Spain, where the missing boat was towed to shore.
More than three years after the harrowing incident, the 26-foot Regulator boat was found across the Atlantic Ocean, drifting off the northern coast of Spain over 3,500 miles from Nantucket.
"We heard this huge roar and looked immediately to our left and there was a huge wave that was cresting and breaking above the top of the boat," said St. Pierre, who was at the helm when the wave struck. "The next thing I knew we were both in the water and the boat was taking off away from us."
Heavily damaged and covered in barnacles, the boat was discovered on Jan. 17 roughly 20 miles off the small port town of Llanes by the Spanish Coast Guard. Towed to shore, the boat still had â€œNantucketâ€ scrawled on the side and its two outboard motors remained attached. Using the registration number, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Massachusetts Environmental Police were able to confirm it was indeed the same one that was lost by the two men southwest of Smithâ€™s Point on the Bonita Bar at dusk on Aug. 25, 2008.
â€œI had definitely given up,â€ said Douglas, 58, when asked if he thought he would ever see the Queen Bee again. â€œI missed the boat, but we were so happy we lived to talk about it, and if it had to be sacrificed, that was fine.â€
St. Pierre, who still owns his home on Nantucket, said he was shocked when he heard the Coast Guard had called to inform him and Douglas that the boat had been found 1,241 days after the incident.
â€œYou wouldnâ€™t think it would ever happen,â€ said St. Pierre. â€œThe question everyone asks you is, â€˜what happened to the boat?â€™ Itâ€™s just such a weird feeling. Itâ€™s got a good ending and itâ€™s nice to have some closure to it. Iâ€™d love to know what happened to it over those three-and-a-half years.â€
The U.S. Coast Guard suspects the Queen Bee drifted away from Nantucket into the Gulf Stream and then north into the North Atlantic current, according to Art Allen, of the Coast Guardâ€™s Office of Search and Rescue.
Spanish media reports indicated that the vessel also still contained a first-aid kit, fire extinguishers, a radio and maps of the U.S. East Coast.