NFA Crew Club boat recovered in Thames River following rowing accident

Norwich — A volunteer coach for the Norwich Free Academy Crew Club said they have recovered the racing shell left in the Thames River last week after five students capsized the boat during practice.

The shell, with an estimated value between $18,000 and $20,000, was left near the banks of the former Norwich Hospital property on April 9 after the students were taken to shore by a Norwich Fire Department boat. The students were taken to The William W. Backus Hospital, where they were treated for mild symptoms of hypothermia and released.

Coach Pat Fuery said the first priority was the safety of the students. The shell had blown into a rocky area inaccessible to the fire department's boat while the students were pulled to safety in the chase boat.

The shell and oars were retrieved the morning after the accident by personnel from public works and the recreation department. It sustained only minor damage, he said, and would likely need some fiberglass patching.

A shell was purchased with others with money from a $150,000 grant to the city of Norwich in 2005 which helped to resurrect the Chelsea Boat Club, which was founded in 1877. The boats are maintained by the Norwich Recreation Department.

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