Portsmouth, NH Boat Accident, Jun 1912


Captain Johnson of Yacht Phyne Has Narrow Escape From Drowing--Held Up by Man and Woman in Small Boat Until Richard O'Brien Arrived.

Captain Johnson of the power yacht Phyne, owned by G. E. Nason of York, had a very narrow escape drowning on Saturday night and three people figured in his sensational rescue, two of whom were in immediate danger of meeting a like fate.

The yacht was moored off the yacht club and shortly after eleven o'clock Captain Johnson started to go out from the yacht club flat. He slipped off the float into the water and made a grab for the tender, and in doing so he pulled the boat over on top of him. There was a strong tide running and before he could get from under the boat, he was up off Steward's wharf. He was almost exhausted and called loudly for help, loud enough to raise almost the entire neighborhood.

Richard O'Brien, who lives next to the yacht club, was aroused by his calls and slipping on a few pieces of clothing he ran down and jumped into a row boat and started in the direction of the cries.

In the meantime a light skiff containing a man and a woman, who were out on the river, rowed along side of Johnson, who was now practically exhausted and the man caught him by the coat. The boat was too light to try to pull him to it, and as it was, it was by skillful handling that it was not overturned. The woman became frightened and she added her calls to that of the man in the water. Her companion in the boat did not dare pull Johnson into the boat neither did he dare to leave him to hang on by himself for fear that he would let go and sink, so he held on to him and allowed the boat to drift in the strong tide.

Fortunately O'Brien is a powerful oarsman and once he located the people he made rapid headway and finally overtook them almost off the Portsmouth Brewery. Mr. O'Brien ran his boat alongside and pulled Johnson into the boat, while the other man turned his attention to getting his own boat under control.

Captain Johnson was taken to his yacht and while thoroughly exhausted became around in a short time. In the excitement the two people in the row boat, who really saved his life at a great risk of their own, rowed off without giving their names.

The tender has not been recovered as yet, whether it drifted up river, or was sunk is not known.

Portsmouth Herald, Portsmouth, NH 17 Jun 1912