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Saliboat capsizes on Spring Lake, sheriff’s helicopter sent for rescue

A sailboat capsized on Spring Lake in Santa Rosa Thursday afternoon, requiring the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office to send its helicopter on a rescue mission.

The boat was about 100 feet from shore when it tipped over about 3:00 p.m., stranding its unidentified pilot, who climbed on top of the boat and awaited rescue, said Santa Rosa Fire Battalion Chief Mark Basque. Three engines and a ladder truck responded, and a firefighter borrowed a paddleboard from a bystander and made it out to the capsized boat.

Basque said the boat’s centerboard snapped off, which combined with a breeze caused the boat to tip over. The man was too tired to swim to shore, and Basque requested the helicopter Henry 1 to make the rescue. Hoisted onto shore, the man was given a medical check and determined to be unscathed.

Thursday evening, the boat remained in the lake, and Basque said the man was working with Sonoma County Regional Parks to remove it. Since it’s a sailboat, it did not contain any gasoline or other toxics that might pose an environmental hazard, Basque said.

Steve Anderson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said wind speeds in Santa Rosa reached about 12 mph Thursday afternoon, which would be strong enough to tip over a boat on a lake - “If the lake was on top of a mountain,” he said.

Staff Writer Alexandria Bordas contributed to this report.

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