- The Washington Times - Monday, August 24, 2009

EDGARTOWN, Mass. | A large wave fueled by Hurricane Bill swept spectators out to sea at a Maine park Sunday as the storm-churned surf attracted onlookers and daredevils along the Eastern Seaboard.

A 7-year-old girl who was pulled from the sea near Acadia National Park later died, and a 54-year-old swimmer died after washing ashore unconscious Saturday in Florida, authorities said.

The girl, her father and a 12-year-old girl were all plucked from the water by rescuers. The man and his daughter are from New York City, Acadia National Park Chief Ranger Stuart West said. The other girl is from Belfast, Maine, and is not related to them, Mr. West said. He would not release their names.

The man and the 12-year-old were taken to a hospital.

The three were part of an early afternoon crowd of thousands who lined the national park’s rocky shoreline to watch the high surf and crashing waves, which were “absolutely the effects of Hurricane Bill” coupled with the effect of high tide, Park Ranger Sonya Berger said.

The hurricane was also blamed for the death of a 54-year-old swimmer Saturday in Florida. Volusia County Beach Patrol Capt. Scott Petersohn said Angel Rosa of Orlando was found ashore near rough waves fueled by Bill at New Smyrna Beach, along the central Florida coast. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Lifeguards there also rescued a handful of other swimmers thought to have suffered spinal injuries.

The center of the hurricane was about 230 miles west of Newfoundland on Sunday night, according to the National Hurricane Center. It had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, and it was moving northeast at 35 mph. The storm is expected to continue to lose strength as it moves over cooler waters.

At Acadia National Park, the waves swept over 20 people, Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Adam Sansoucie said. Mr. West said 11 people were taken to the hospital, mainly for broken bones after being slammed onto the rocks.

Along Nova Scotia’s Atlantic coast, the storm delivered steady downpours and fierce winds, forcing flight cancellations and temporary road closings. Bill ripped branches from trees in Halifax and elsewhere, and there was some localized flooding. About 40,000 Nova Scotia Power customers lost power, but it was gradually being restored Sunday.

Craig MacLaughlan, CEO of Nova Scotia’s Emergency Management Office, said no major damage has been reported in the province.

The storm drew onlookers hoping to catch a glimpse of crashing waves as it marched through Atlantic Canada.

Despite repeated warnings, people gathered in Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia, and along the boardwalk in downtown Halifax as swells grew steadily in strength and size.

In Massachusetts, President Obama and his family arrived in Martha’s Vineyard on Sunday afternoon for vacation after the storm had passed well to the east.

Several people had to be rescued from the water in Massachusetts, including a couple of kayakers who got stranded in the heavy seas off Plymouth, said Peter Judge, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

Jennifer Kay, Pat Eaton-Robb, Bruce Shipkowski and Rob Gillies contributed to this report.

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