Dad of 13 Drowns in Hurricane Trying to Save His Boat

boats docked at a marinaA 68-year-old man and father of 13 from the Bronx, Jose Sierra, drowned in the aftermath of Hurricane-turned-Tropical-Storm Irene. He had been checking on his boat at a marina yesterday morning when the incident occurred, according to cops and witnesses. It seems that when he arrived at the marina, the winds were still very high, as were the waters. He fell in the rough waves near his boat and drifted to the neighboring marina. His body was discovered yesterday afternoon.

The father of one of Sierra's son's wives, Eric Irizarry, told the press that Sierra came alone to the marina. "His wife told him not to leave, but he went anyway. He must have sneaked out." Ugh, so sad ... what was this guy thinking?

Sierra's fate is, of course, terribly tragic. But it also seems like it was something that could have been easily prevented.


Sierra must have been one of the MANY skeptics -- especially in the New York area -- who weren't buying the potential danger of Irene. There were people just like him interviewed on the streets of Lower Manhattan as the storm started on Saturday. People refused to evacuate their homes in that low-lying territory despite New York Mayor Bloomberg's warnings. I'm not sure if they're sorry today, but I'm sure Sierra's family is.

The storm may have been swirling to a close at the time Sierra went to check on his boat, but it was obvious from the severe debris and flooding through the streets yesterday morning that "staying put" and not venturing out into potential dangerous areas right away was the best choice for most people affected by the storm. Sierra could have and should have heeded that warning.

It's a terrible shame and a tragic loss. Being so eager to babysit his boat shouldn't have cost this man his life. But hopefully, the fate Jose Sierra suffered will serve as a cautionary tale to others that sometimes it's best to be extra safe than sorry.

Image via Thierry/Flickr

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