Sailboat freed after getting stuck under Gillis Bridge

Courtesy photo/Marion SparkA sailboat was caught for a short time under a section of the Gillis Bridge over the Merrimack River on Monday after its mast could not clear the bridge. 

NEWBURYPORT – The Coast Guard and the city’s harbormaster responded to the Gillis Bridge on Monday afternoon to free a sailboat whose mast failed to clear the span. 

No one was injured and the boat didn’t sustain damage after the captain misjudged the clearance about 2:45 p.m. 

Newburyport Harbormaster Paul Hogg said there was discussion about waiting until the tide lowered but after a few minutes, it was decided to loosen the mast until it slipped under the bridge. The craft was stuck for about 20 minutes. 

“It could have been a lot worse,” Hogg said, adding that the bridge was not damaged. 

The boat was towed to shore. Hogg said the boat is berthed in Newburyport. 

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