Thursday, March 05, 2009

A Bizarre Story

Perhaps you've heard of this, but since the woman decided not to go on Oprah, many have not.

Capt. Christopher Covella, a mariner with 32 years of experience and more than 17,000 trips aboard Staten Island ferries to his credit, was in the pilot house of the John J. Marchi on Sept. 16, heading to Staten Island from Manhattan, when he saw something out of place.

“At 11:50 a.m. I noticed something in the water that didn’t belong there,” Captain Covella said. “All it was, was a head and it was slightly more than a quarter-mile away.”

Slowing down the boat, he instructed two of his deckhands to prepare to enter the water near Robbins Reef, a tiny outcropping of land topped by a lighthouse just off the north shore of Staten Island. The two deckhands, Michael Sabatino, 28, and Ephriam Washington, 31, hung over the edge of the ferry in a 12-foot aluminum skiff as the captain edged his craft toward the island.

About 200 feet away from Ms. Upp, who was floating face down, the men were lowered into the water. When they reached her, Mr. Washington put his hands under Ms. Upp’s arms, turned her face up, and, with the help of Mr. Sabatino, lifted her into the skiff.

“We realized that she was breathing and had no major cuts or bruises, so we decided to bring her back to St. George,” Mr. Washington said. Three minutes later, they were at the Staten Island Ferry terminal.

I've rode (ridden?) the Staten Island ferry quite a few times, and I must admit I'm amazed that they stop for a body in the water. But there's much more to this story that will interest you. Ms. Upp had been missing for three weeks.

Here's the whole story.

Incidentally, while doing the little research I've done on this story, I came across this from Wikipedia:

The Robbins Reef Light Station is a lighthouse located off Constable Hook in Bayonne, New Jersey along the west side of Main Channel, Upper New York Bay. The tower and integral keepers quarters were built in 1883. ... Also called Kate's Light for Kate Walker who "manned" the station alone from the death of her husband Jacob in 1886 until 1919. She rowed her children to Staten Island for school.


Jeannelle said...

Oh, my....amazing story about Ms. Upp, who was found face down in the water, and how did the ferry operator see her head from a quarter mile away?

Sudden and unexpected travel doesn't sound too bad to me....I am a last-minute person.

As for Ms. Walker the lighthouse keeper......I might have considered homeschooling if I were her, and to save money on the fabric that would have been needed to sew large sleeves to accomodate her muscular rowing arms.

Reamus said...

Almost too bizarre to be true...New York for three weeks without money or ID?
Unbelievable stuff...but true.

Sempringham said...

You had the same reaction I did to Mrs. Walker. Pretty impressive lady.


I wouldn't have believed the story were it not for the floating face down in New York Harbor bit. It's a little hard to fake that.

Reamus said...

'Tis a mystery, but the ferry guys are too honest to fool with that one...still just seems sio unreal that one can have that happen.