22 OK After Dragon Boat Breaks On Connecticut River

Twenty-two people were rescued from the Connecticut River Tuesday evening after their dragon boat broke.

No one was injured, fire officials said. The crew was preparing for the ninth annual Dragon Boat and Asian Festival on Aug. 15 and 16.

The call for help came in at 7:20 p.m., East Hartford Fire Chief John Oates said. Everyone was safely out of the water 17 minutes later, he said.

Some crew members were rescued by smaller powerboats that were with the dragon boats, Oates said. Others were pulled out of the river by people on boats that were not connected to the boat race.

East Hartford firefighters pulled the final two crew members out of the water, Oates said. The Hartford fire and police departments sent out boats as well, he said.

East Hartford firefighters rescued the boaters an hour after town council members had visited the river to look at a new boat, he said.

Everyone in the dragon boat had a life vest on, Oates said. Dragon boat racing rules require that all crew members wear personal flotation devices.

It's a perfect example of why all boaters should wear them, Oates said.

"You never know that's going to go wrong," he said.

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