Dr. Emily Mecklenburg, 40, died after suffering a serious head wound while on board Grace Bailey – a 150-year-old schooner.
The windjammer had been returning from a four-day cruise with 33 people on board when one of its masts snapped, striking Mecklenburg and three others.
A motorized lifeboat rushed Mecklenburg to an awaiting emergency medical crew on the shore, where she was pronounced dead.
Mecklenburg, who worked at Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport, has since been remembered as a ‘well-known’ and ‘well-loved’ community member.
She specialized in internal medicine, according to MaineHealth’s website. A spokesperson said her colleagues were ‘heartbroken’, the Boston Globe reported.
‘Emily was a friend to so many and well known for the compassionate care she provided to patients,’ MaineHealth said.
Dr. Emily Mecklenburg suffered a serious head wound when the mast snapped
The Grace Bailey was returning from a four-day cruise when the incident took place
Grace Bailey is co-owned by Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Marc Evan Jackson, Captain Sam Sikkema and Mainer Suzannah Smith
‘Along with our community, we grieve Emily’s loss and send our thoughts and prayers to her family.’
Three other passengers also required medical attention, including a woman who had severe spinal injuries.
They were assisted by Charlie Weidman, 57, the owner of a boat towing business, who was heading out to retrieve a vessel that had broken down off the coast of Rockland when he heard a mayday sound.
He responded to hear Sam Sikkema, Grace Bailey’s captain, who told him the boat’s mast had snapped during high winds.
Weidman was first on the scene at 10:26 am, shortly after the initial mayday and found CPR being performed on one victim.
‘People were working beyond their capacity, but doing a good job of it,’ Wiedman said.
‘Everyone was on task helping the situation. It was almost a hive of bees. Everyone’s buzzing around, but it’s not angry. They’re just working.’
A nearby Coast Guard responded and began evacuating the injured passengers within minutes of the mast’s catastrophic failure and collapse on the deck.
The Grace Bailey is co-owned by Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Marc Evan Jackson as well as Captain Sikkema and Mainer Suzannah Smith.
After the mast broke early morning on October 9, officials on board were quick to call the New England Command Center for help
Mecklenburg suffered a major head wound and was taken to an emergency medical crew on the shore by a motorized life boat but was pronounced dead at the scene
‘My crew and I are devastated by this morning’s accident, especially since the safety of our guests is always our biggest priority,’ Captain Sikkema told the Associated Press.
‘Most importantly, we are beyond heartbroken that we lost a dear friend.’
Weidman towed the schooner to Rockland Harbor. Its operators said they had no idea why the mast failed. The Coast Guard is set to conduct a full investigation into the incident.
Weidman said Sikkema is going to ‘take it harder than anyone other than the family of the poor woman’.
‘He just takes things to heart. He wants absolutely nothing but the best and he doesn’t cut corners,’ he added.
Captain Amy Florentino, the Coast Guard Sector Northern New England commander, said the incident was a tragedy.
‘In this time of sorrow, we offer our deepest condolences to the grieving family, and our most heartfelt wishes for a swift recovery to those harmed,’ she said.
‘Our investigation aims to identify causative factors that led to this tragic incident.’
The Grace Bailey’s overall length is 118 feet (36m) and can carry 29 passengers, according to its official website.
It was built in November 1882 by Oliver Perry Smith at his boatyard on the Patchogue River, in Patchogue, New York.
The Grace Bailey’s overall length is 118 feet (36 meters) and it can carry 29 passengers, according to its official website
The Grace Bailey was built in November 1882 by Oliver Perry Smith at his boatyard on the Patchogue River, in Patchogue, New York
The early deck plan included two cargo hatches between the masts and one between the mainmast and the after deckhouse. The main topmast was removed when the cargo ship became a cruise schooner
Currently a huge tourist attraction in Maine, the Grace Bailey was originally built to serve the needs of the E. Bailey and Sons Lumber Company by carrying lumber from southern ports to Patchogue.
The early deck plan included two cargo hatches between the masts and one between the mainmast and the after-deckhouse. The main topmast was removed when the cargo ship became a cruise schooner.
In 1940, the Grace Bailey, formerly known as MATTIE was purchased by Captain Frank Swift of Camden who used her as a passenger schooner.
Under Swift, the schooner became a favorite among passengers and crew alike. The ship took a brief hiatus from her windjammer career in 1942 when she performed her war service as the first training vessel for the Maine Maritime Academy.
After returning to the windjammer business, the schooner has outlasted all of the earlier vessels in its fleet. She has served longer and carried more passengers than any other windjammer in history.