By RICHARD DEGENER
CAPE MAY — A man rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard from a party boat sinking Thursday in the Delaware Bay has been discharged from an Atlantic City hospital.
The sinking of the 65-foot wooden vessel Sea Wolf happened at about 1:30 a.m. Thursday, seven miles off Cape May. Gregory Arlotta, 62, of Florida, is still missing and presumed dead.
The Coast Guard battled eight-foot waves and steady winds of 29 knots and even higher gusts, and pulled Eric Hopkins, 42, of Washington D.C., from the water.
Hopkins suffered hypothermia and on Thursday was listed in critical condition at the trauma intensive care unit at the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center City Campus. A nursing supervisor on Friday said Hopkins had been discharged.
Authorities said Arlotta purchased Sea Wolf several days ago from a retiring party boat captain in Sheepshead Bay, N.Y., and was transporting it to New Orleans when he ran into rough seas at the mouth of the Delaware Bay. It’s an area that mariners say can be more hazardous than the open ocean due to shallower waters and swift tidal currents. The Sea Wolf left Sheepshead Bay on Wednesday morning.
The Coast Guard and the New Jersey State Police are investigating what caused the Sea Wolf to break up. The Coast Guard found a field of debris. Hopkins was in a life raft but Arlotta was found face down and unresponsive in the debris field. He did not have a survival suit and the water temperature was 36 degrees. A Coast Guard rescue swimmer tried to retrieve Arlotta but when some of the debris sank Arlotta was pulled down with it.
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