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Two dozen boaters rescued after high winds flip sailboats on Severn River

Sudden, strong wind gusts tossed about two dozen sailors into the Severn River on Sunday.

About two dozen sailors were tossed into the Severn River when a squall of 40 mph winds blew in Sunday afternoon, but none were hurt, according to Maryland Natural Resources Police.

According to early counts, 16 boats on the river for a Severn Sailing Association event flipped when what had been slight winds became severe within a matter of minutes about 2:20 p.m., said Candy Thomson, a spokeswoman for the police department.

Officials believe 22 people went overboard, and that all are accounted for and unharmed, Thomson said. Their ages range from 16 to 70, she said.

The rescue effort involved Natural Resources police, Annapolis and Anne Arundel County firefighters, the U.S. Coast Guard and good Samaritans who were out on the river.

Most of the sailors were wearing wetsuits, Thomson said. "That, combined with the fact that rescue came quickly, probably was a huge help today," she said.

The National Weather Service issued a marine weather statement at 1:28 p.m. warning boaters that gusts up to 40 knots, or about 46 mph, was approaching.

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