WEST ISLAND: Fairhaven Police/Fire Coast Guard, Harbormaster, Shellfish involved Search/rescue from West Island South Point - scene active - witness stated Kayakerwas in distress - seen from 32 Balsam St. West Island Weather Station SkyCam was active in search ? at West Island. Bi l l for Fairhaven search cou ld hit $200,000
By CURT BROWN
FAIRHAVEN ? Last weekend?s extensive, 12-hour search for a New Bedford chiropractor could cost between $100,000 and $200,000, police said.
New Bedford police Sgt. Jill Simmons, director of port security, estimated the total costs of the search for Gary Alves will cost the Coast Guard, state Department of Environmental Police and SouthCoast communities more than $150,000 and close to $200,000 because the land, sea and air effort was so extensive.
?I bet it will be north of $150,000,? she said.
Sgt. Kevin Kobza, public information officer for the Fairhaven Police Department, said conservatively the final price tag will be?over $100,000.?
In Fairhaven alone, Fire ChiefTimothy Francis said the cost to the town will be somewhere between $4,000 and $5,000.
?It?s going to be substantial,? he said, explaining many of his personnel were on overtime. ?It?s going to cost the town a little bit of money.?
The department had its fire boat with three firefighters/paramedics in the water as well as 10 additional personnel on the shore.
?It happened in our town so we set up the command post,?he said.
Public safety officials based their estimates on the number of rescue boats and the Coast Guard helicopter, cutter and two response boats that participated in the rescue, which started about 6 p.m. Friday and ended approximately 5:30 a.m. Saturday.
The Coast Guard deployed a helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod; the 87-foot cutter Tiger Shark, based in Woods Hole, and two 47-foot response boats, one based at Woods Hole, the other at Menemsha, according to Petty Officer Robert Simpson.
He could not estimate the cost of the search to the Coast Guard.
Simmons said boats and personnel from the state Department of Environmental Police; the Marion, Mattapoisett and Fairhaven harbormasters; Fairhaven shellfish warden and Fire Department, and the New Bedford Fire Department all participated in the sea search, while two al-terrain vehicles from the Southeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council Search and Rescue Team searched marshes for Alves.
New Bedford Fire Chief Michael Gomes estimated the costs for fuel and overtime costs for his three firefighters will be about $1,100.
Simmons said New Bedford police did not launch its police boat and she was on the water with the environmental police. The search began when Alves? Hobie pontoon boat, a cross between a kayak and a sailboat, washed onto West Island town beach about 5:30 p.m. with no one aboard. His cellphone and a small bag with his personal belongings were in the boat. Alves was found about 5:30 a.m. walking up the beach at West Island near Hoppy?s Landing when he flagged down a Fairhaven officer, according to Kobza. Alves was transported to St. Luke?s Hospital in New Bedford for observation.
Louis Carlesi, who identified himself as a family friend, said Monday that Alves was still at the hospital when The Standard-Times called the chiropractor?s home.
It could not be determined Monday from hospital officials whether Alves was a patient there. Stephanie Poyant, a spokeswoman, said she had?no information?about him. She explained that means he either was not a patient or had ?opted out? of being included on the hospital list.
Although Fairhaven police said the Coast Guard is investigating the circumstances of the incident, Simpson said no decision has been made whether to begin an official probe. ?There is time to make a decision on that,?he said.