Dauphin Island residents in shock after tragedy - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Dauphin Island residents in shock after tragedy

Search and rescue efforts were hampered following another round of bad weather over Mobile Bay. Over the weekend four boaters went missing in rough seas and bad weather. (Photo source: WLOX News) Search and rescue efforts were hampered following another round of bad weather over Mobile Bay. Over the weekend four boaters went missing in rough seas and bad weather. (Photo source: WLOX News)

While a chopper flies over Mobile Bay, and a boat churns through the heavy surf off Dauphin Island searching for the missing, the 1,600 people who live in this Alabama town are left with their own thoughts. 

People like Barbara Barnard, on her morning bicycle ride said, “I think about all the families that are missing. their loved ones out there and just hope that they can find them. It's a tragedy." 

Clyde Britt runs a ships store near the scene of the tragedy. There's only one feeling on the island these days.

“Well, it just kind of makes everyone sad. You feel for the families and their friends and these people were in a great event, having a good time and all of a sudden it turns into a tragedy,” Britt lamented.

Others, like Lilly Sprinkle, remember the day the sea turned deadly. 

“It was just chaos. I've never seen, and I have lived here forever. I've never seen anything like that. That wasn't supposed to be like that,” Sprinkle said.

While the residents and city officials of Dauphin Island are shocked and stunned by the tragedy that happened on Saturday, as is always the case when tragedy does strike, the Salvation Army always appears, as they did this case. Not only are they handing out supplies and food, they're also handing out something else--counseling.

Patricia Finkbohner is heading up the effort on the island. 

“You've got to worry about the first-responders, who are usually going to be the first people on the site if something bad happens. In addition to that, you've got the families that are just shell shocked,” Finkbohner explained.

In tragedy, an island has come together, according to Sprinkle. 

“We're all about family here. And when one of us hurts, we all hurt. This is something that's been going on for 57 years, this regatta, and for this to happen, everyone here is heartbroken.”

The city's mayor Jeff Collier, couldn't agree more. 

“Our community spirit shines brightest during our darkest days. And that's something that we've seen happen, whether it's after hurricanes or tragic events such as this. And it really brings the good out of our community, the people, the churches, Collier said.

Several agencies are involved in the search for the missing, led by the Coast Guard. Those efforts were hampered Monday by high winds and rough seas around the island.

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