A firefighter was charged after police say he crashed his fire-and-rescue vessel into a jetty in Delaware City on Wednesday.
Investigators say Edward Kalinowski, 62, of the Delaware City Fire Company, was operating a 34-foot Metalcraft Marine aluminum fireboat around midnight on Wednesday when the boat struck a rock jetty near the Reedy Point Bridge on the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal.
The impact sent the vessel airborne before it crashed into the canal on the other side of the rocks, sinking to the bottom.
“It landed nose first into the canal,” said Dave Carpenter of the Delaware City Fire Company. “The water started filling the cabin very quickly.”
Officials say the boat was assisting in the search for an overdue recreational boat at the time of the accident.
Kalinowski and two other fire company members who were on the boat managed to pull themselves to safety.
Kalinowski suffered a broken ankle, the second victim suffered facial injuries while the third suffered back and hip injuries.
Kalinowski and the second victim were treated and released at the Christiana Medical Center. The third victim was kept at the hospital overnight for further observation.
Despite their injuries, Senior Corporal Jeff Howell of the Natural Resources Police says the three men were extremely fortunate.
“Very lucky,” Howell said. “We’ve had several fatalities out here where people have run into the jetty and died.”
Kalinowski was later charged with one count of negligence for allegedly operating at an excessive speed.
The fireboat will be raised from the canal. Officials with the Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement are investigating the crash.
Investigators also say the overdue recreational boat that sparked the search and its occupant were both found unharmed.