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Coast Guard says boater had no life vest

July 19, 2012
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SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I.—Coast Guard officials say a Rhode Island man treaded water without a life vest for almost 9 hours after falling off his boat Tuesday night.

Joseph Gross was pulled from the water by Coast Guard rescuers just after 3:30 a.m. Wednesday about 3 miles south of Point Judith.

Petty Officer Justin Wood says Gross told them he had been fishing off Block Island and was working on the back deck of his 23-foot boat when a wave hit it, knocking him overboard.

The boat kept going, running aground on Green Hill Beach, where witnesses called 911.

The 51-year-old Gross was taken to South County Hospital, where he was being treated for hypothermia.

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