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After a Dragon Boat Sinks in New York’s East River, 19 are Rescued — And 2 Are Engaged

Manhattan Skyline with ReflectionsThis past Sunday, the 19 members of the Azumi Rowing Club found themselves in a wet and rather chilly situation when their dragon boat overturned in New York City’s East River.

Dragon boats are Chinese-designed rowing boats that are often used for racing. This one, in particular, has been used during New York’s Hong Kong Boat Dragon Festival.

According to the Coast Guard, the dragon boat was entirely underwater by the time rescuers reached the scene. Because all passengers were wearing lifejackets, however, no injuries were sustained.

The boat capsized due to waves coming in on both sides of the shallow dragon boat.
According to Fox, the New York Fire Department said the rescue crews were called around 1:40 pm.

“We started plucking them out of the water one by one. By the time we had everybody on it was 19 persons, which is an awful lot of people,” FDNY Lieutenant Robert Greer reported to WCBS-TV.

The rescue mission was fast and a success, taking only 15 minutes in total. According to Louis Idarraga, a rower and passenger on the dragon boat, the rescue mission owed its success to the calm and proactive dispositions of both the passengers and rescuers alike.

“Everyone kept their cool. I think that’s what really kept us together,” Idarraga told WABC-TV. “It wasn’t that cold, but it was cold enough that we were in there long enough that it was starting to get cold.”

Moments before the boat capsized, CBS radio station 1010 Wins reported that one of the passengers proposed to his girlfriend. As the team made its way towards Queen’s Whitestone Bridge, Frankline Chiu took out a ring and proposed to girlfriend and fellow rower, Vicky Lee.

She said yes and soon after, the capsizing transpired.

Luckily, the sinking dragon boat was only a minor hiccup in Chiu’s engagement plans. After they were rescued, Chiu, his fiancee, and the ring were all intact.

The average engagement lasts for 14 months. One thing’s for certain — this will be an engagement story worth retelling!