On Thursday, in the rushing darkness of a winter twilight, the three-man crew of the 51-foot Orin C went into the water and only two emerged safely onto the deck of the U.S. Coast Guard’s 47-foot lifesaving boat out of Station Gloucester. David Sutherland, 47, of 10 Montvale Ave. — known to all along the waterfront as Heavy D — died in the water as the Coast Guard tried to rescue him after his slime eel boat sunk about 12 miles off Thacher Island.
The story began to unfold about 9:30 Thursday morning, when Phil Powell of Swampscott, captain of the groundfishing boat Foxy Lady, received word from Sutherland that the Orin C was taking on water and in trouble.
“I was about 25 miles out and Dave Sutherland called me from his boat,” Powell said. “He was out off Wildcat Knoll and they had broken down and needed assistance. I steamed for two hours, about 16 miles, to reach him and then we started the tow.
“I wasn’t going to leave him alone out there.”
While under tow, the winds started to blow with a greater fury, howling between 30 and 35 knots, while the seas rose from 8 feet to 10 feet. Powell said the tow went well for the first five hours despite the fact they were using a short line. But then the seas got worse.
“One wave hit him and brought his bow down and the second wave came and went over the top of his roof, opening up the front super structure of the boat,” Powell said. “At that time, about 3, I called the Coast Guard for assistance and they put a boat on route that was two hours away.”
Lepere said the station already was monitoring the situation by radio and, given the escalating wind and high seas, began readying the 47-foot lifeboat. He said that boat got underway at 3:33 p.m. with nine crew aboard. By then, the seas were between 10 and 12 feet. The Foxy Lady continued towing the Orin C in the worsening seas until the Coast Guard boat arrived. Lepere said the life boat reached the other two boats about 4:45 p.m. after cruising 13 miles.
“We discontinued the tow and the Coast Guard took over,” said Powell, a commercial fisherman of 31 years.
The first order of business was transferring a pump aboard the Orin C, but that proved difficult in the heaving water. Finally, they got the pump aboard and began to tow the Orin C toward land, but the pump was unable to keep up as water kept crashing over the bow.
“They towed him for approximately an hour, an hour-and-a-half,” Powell said. “He was still taking on water. They couldn’t maintain the pump to keep it running. The pump kept clogging with debris from the bilge.”
Finally, the Coast Guard personnel cut the tow line and told the men to get into their safety life suits and get in the water one at a time, Lepere said. The three men aboard the Orin C got into their suits and were standing at the stern of the boat when another wave just engulfed the boat, sending one whole side of it below water.
“The decks were awash and the boat just came out beneath their feet,” Powell said. They were in the water and darkness was everywhere. The Coast Guard, following protocol, began extracting the fishermen one-by-one from the water. Sutherland, according to Powell, was the last man in the water.
“By the time they got to Dave, they found him with his head in the water, unresponsive,” Powell said.
“Our guys picked up the first two guys out of the water and the third was just kind of on his back, backstroking,” Lepere said. “And then he stopped, not moving at all. So we put a swimmer in the water.”
The swimmer got Sutherland back to the Coast Guard vessel, but the fisherman remained unconscious and unresponsive when he was hauled on deck.
“There was no pulse and he wasn’t breathing,” Lepere said. “We began administering CPR and stayed at it for 45 minutes to an hour on the back deck of the 47.”
On Friday, Powell, clearly weary from the previous night’s events, was asked if he’d ever been through anything like that before.
“Many times,” he said. “I’ve done other sea rescues in years past and I’ve been rescued in years past. We don’t leave our friends behind.”
David “Heavy D” Sutherland seemed like a well liked guy, and his story is tragic.
And Phil Powell should be considered a hero for using his boat to travel 25 miles through high sea waters to tow his boat and successfully saved the lives of two of the three men on board with his boat The Foxy Lady.
So obviously you’d have to be a huge dickhead to sue a good samaritan who tried to save lives right? Well, look who is doing just that.
Joe Orlando Jr.
You may recall that two months ago Attorney Orlando Jr, whose daddy hired him to work for his already successful law firm, called and threatened me not to publish a video of his client Luke Noble verbally abusing his then three year old daughter.
This is a disturbing video of Luke Noble, a candidate for North Andover Board of Selectmen pic.twitter.com/IDg9WCCWLu
— Max (@SurelyMacks) March 13, 2020
That video is very disturbing, especially considering that Luke Noble is running for a seat on the North Andover Board of Selectmen, and was personally endorsed by Governor Charlie Baker.
Joe Orlando Jr has also been endorsed by Baker when he ran for Gloucester City Council.
Some have argued that Joe Orlando Jr was just representing his client when he threatened me, but the problem is that he lied when he said that the video couldn’t be published because it was being used as evidence in ongoing litigation. That was completely made up, and done solely for the purpose of preventing the publication of relevant information about a man who is running for political office. Since then it’s been revealed that Luke Noble was accused by the same daughter in that video, her therapist, and pediatrician, of sexual abuse. Read the doctor’s horrifying deposition here. Orlando Jr attempted to intimidate me into not reporting the first domino that led to these revelations.
So yea, the fact that he would brag about suing a good samaritan on Facebook is the least surprising news ever. It’s a complicated story that you can read about here but allow me to summarize it:
- Orlando Jr is representing the estate of Heavy D and the two surviving crew members, who sued both the Coast Guard and Phil Powell
- Orlando Jr retained Gloucester harbormaster Thomas “TJ” Ciarametaro, a coast guard “veteran,” as a witness against the defendant
- Coast Guard boy says that Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken was furious that he would participate in helping to sue a good samaritan, promting her to call him, tell him that he never should’ve been hired to be Harbormaster, and said “If you still want to be harbormaster, you will stop this”
- Coast guard boy said Gloucester’s lawyer also called him and told him to “do the right thing
- The lawsuit against the coast guard was dismissed because they have immunity, but the lawsuit against Powell was not
- The judge called Powell’s actions “admirable” but agreed that Heavy D’s boat was damaged during and because of the tow
- The fishermen community is furious that Orlando Jr would recruit a member of the Mayor’s administration (Ciarametaro) as a witness to sue a good samaritan who tried to save the lives of other fishermen who are now suing him
The Mayor issued the following statement.
“The brave men and women who operate Gloucester’s fishing fleet have always looked out for each other, and they always will,” she writes. “We in government should do everything we can for their safety, including helping them to keep each other safe. We should never do anything that might cause them to hesitate in coming to the aid of a stricken vessel.”
“I believe that it is the public policy of the City to encourage Good Samaritans at sea,” Theken writes. “And I must question the judgment of any City official who acts contrary to that policy.”
Look, I realize that lawyers are just hired agents to do scummy things sometimes. But no one put a gun to Orlando Jr’s head to make him take this case. He’s doing it because this is the kind of lowlife bullshit he does to live comfortably.
Why would any firsherman ever try to save anyone’s life anywhere near Gloucester now that they know that the Orlando’s are ambulance chasers who will go after everything you own if you try and fail? I guess journalist, mothers of abused children, pediatricians who testify about alleged sexual abuse, and good samaritans are the kind of people they don’t mind intimidating in pursuit of the almighty dollar.
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