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clipped from our news section:

May 25, 2002

Cape May man critical after boating accident in harbor
By PAT ARNEY Staff Writer, (609) 272-7204, E-Mail

LOWER TOWNSHIP - A 21-year-old Cape May man was hospitalized in critical condition Friday after a boating accident that also injured another Cape May man.

The accident happened at about 5:34 a.m. at day marker 4 of the Intracoastal Waterway in Cape May Harbor, in the vicinity of the U.S. Coast Guard Base, said Trooper Mark Yandach of the State Police Marine Station at Bivalve, Cumberland County.

Howard Matthews, 53, and Ernest Irons, 21, both of Cape May, were in a 23-foot long skiff with an outboard motor when Matthews, who was operating the boat, apparently turned to look at some porpoises and ran into the day marker, Yondach said. Matthews was ejected.

The skiff kept going, with Irons aboard, until it ran aground in the marsh about 50 feet northeast, Yondach said.

A U.S. Coast Guard boat from the Cape May base picked up Irons and removed him from the skiff, Yondach said. A passing boater, Justin Aftanis, of North Cape May, pulled Matthews off the day marker.

Both men were taken to Burdette Tomlin Memorial Hospital in Cape May Court House, where Irons was admitted with a broken back, Yondach said. Matthews was treated and released.

Irons later was transferred to the Atlantic City Medical Center, City Division, in Atlantic City, where he was listed in critical condition Friday night, an ACMC nursing supervisor said.

Matthews was issued a summons for failure to use a lanyard cut-off switch, Yondach said.

The trooper was referring to a lanyard that he said is attached to both the operator and the motor, so if the operator is ejected, the lanyard will pull out of the motor, shutting it down.

The accident remains under investigation by State Trooper Daniel Pettit of the Bivalve Marine Station, Yondach said.

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