ROCKLAND, Maine – A tragic incident occurred Monday morning off the coast of Maine when the mainmast of a 150-year-old schooner, the Grace Bailey, collapsed, resulting in the death of a doctor on board and injuring three others. The schooner, a 118-foot windjammer, was returning from a four-day voyage with 33 passengers when the mast broke, according to the vessel’s owner.
The Grace Bailey was about a mile from Rockland Harbor when the accident happened. A local towing service was the first to arrive at the scene, where they found passengers attempting to resuscitate one of the victims. Dr. Emily Mecklenburg, a 40-year-old Rockland resident, was later pronounced dead. Three other passengers were rushed to the hospital with severe injuries, including head and spine trauma and crush injuries.
The U.S. Coast Guard is currently investigating the cause of the mast’s collapse. Despite the Grace Bailey being built in 1882, it has undergone numerous refurbishments over the years, including the replacement of the original mast. The conditions at the time of the accident were reported to be calm, with little wind.
The vessel’s captain, Sam Sikkema, expressed his devastation over the incident, emphasizing that the safety of their guests is always their top priority. Dr. Mecklenburg, who was a part of the MaineHealth system and primarily worked out of the Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockland, was remembered as a dear friend.