Fatal Boating Accident

Two members of a Mississippi family drowned and a child was injured when their 18-foot boat sank near the Dauphin Island bridge off the Alabama coast. Two others were rescued after a motorist called 911. The five, all relatives from Waynesboro, Mississippi, were in the water about two hours Saturday before a motorist spotted them from the bridge.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Mark Corbishley said the boat's owner, Milton Haze, drowned along with the child's mother, Frankie Strawbridge. The child, 6-year-old Audrrs Strawbridge, was in stable condition Sunday at a Mobile hospital. The other two survivors were Frankie Strawbridge's husband, Dixie Strawbridge, and Allie Powe. Both were treated at a hospital and released. The boaters had departed Cedar Point about 6:30 a.m. for a day of fishing. Waves swamped the anchored vessel in the choppy Mississippi Sound. The Coast Guard says Audrrs and Allie Powe both had on a life vest. Frankie Strawbridge was hanging onto one when her body was found. The men were not wearing life vests, the Coast Guard says.

Construction workers Jim English and his nephew Shane told the Mobile Register that they were on their way to work when a reddish-orange object in the water caught their attention. English recognized a man waving his arms. He was gripping the boy as the current swept them westward. English and Hogue got out of their pickup truck and shouted down to the man, who was about 25 feet below them. ``He was saying, `Help us, help us,''' Hogue said. Hogue said he tried to call 911 from his cellular phone, but it didn't go through. English drove to the island to alert police, and then a 911 dispatcher called Hogue back on his cellular phone. She transferred his call to the Coast Guard. He gave the Coast Guard directions, feeling helpless as the man and child, and then three of his companions floated under the bridge and away. He watched them through binoculars.

By the time rescuers reached them, they were in shallow water. Strawbridge was able to stand, hanging onto his son, rescuers said. ``They were disoriented, really, because of the trauma,'' said Petty Officer 3rd class William Biggers, who piloted the first boat on the scene. The boy had severe hypothermia. The Coast Guard worked alongside boats from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Local police and the Alabama Marine Police are investigating.