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Published: Thursday, 7/30/2009

Judge saves former Toledo mayor, 6 others from sinking power boat

BY JC REINDL
BLADE STAFF WRITER
A man bails water from the Quiet Time II, owned by Pat Feeley, and the U.S. Coast Guard works to get the electric pump started. The Coast Guard eventually finished bailing the water from the boat. A man bails water from the Quiet Time II, owned by Pat Feeley, and the U.S. Coast Guard works to get the electric pump started. The Coast Guard eventually finished bailing the water from the boat.
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A passenger crew of older men, including a former Toledo mayor, were rescued yesterday from their sinking vessel on the Maumee River by the captain of a nearby pontoon boat.

The Toledo station of the U.S. Coard Guard, whose responders bailed out the 30-foot motor boat and towed it to shore, named the quick-acting captain the day's "good Samaritan."

Yet in the corridors of Toledo Municipal Court, that pontoon boat captain is better known as Presiding Judge Timothy Kuhlman.

Judge Kuhlman, 43, was on vacation yesterday and enjoying a cruise on his pontoon with eight members of his family when they noticed the men in the other boat signaling for help.

Kuhlman Kuhlman
HO Enlarge

They did not realize until much later that John McHugh, 78, who served as mayor from 1990 until Carty Finkbeiner first took office in 1994, was among the passengers on the sinking boat.

Among that boat's seven passengers was John Armstrong, 83, of South Toledo, who recalled how their vessel was between the S.S. Willis B. Boyer Museum Ship and downtown Toledo's Owens Corning headquarters when it began taking on water.

The boat, christened Quiet Time II, is owned by Pat Feeley. It set out for a lunch-hour cruise at about 11:30 a.m. from the Maumee River Yacht Club and sprang a leak shortly after 12:30 p.m.

"We were just admiring the Boyer and all of the sudden one of the guys says, 'My feet are getting wet,'•" Mr. Armstrong said.

CTY boat29p  07/29/09  The Blade/Dave Zapotosky Caption: Men rescued from a sinking boat on the Maumee River, in Toledo, Ohio, stand on shore, Wednesday, July 29, 2009.  L-R- are Harold Pflager, Joe Pflager, John Armstrong, Paul Rawski, and John McHugh, former Toledo mayor.  The name of the boat is Quiet Time II and is owned by Pat Feeley of Toledo, according to men who were on the boat. Summary: Boat taking on water is rescued by the Coast Guard in the Maumee River. CTY boat29p 07/29/09 The Blade/Dave Zapotosky Caption: Men rescued from a sinking boat on the Maumee River, in Toledo, Ohio, stand on shore, Wednesday, July 29, 2009. L-R- are Harold Pflager, Joe Pflager, John Armstrong, Paul Rawski, and John McHugh, former Toledo mayor. The name of the boat is Quiet Time II and is owned by Pat Feeley of Toledo, according to men who were on the boat. Summary: Boat taking on water is rescued by the Coast Guard in the Maumee River.
THE BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Judge Kuhlman maneuvered his pontoon to the ailing ship's bow and threw over a line. As he jumped on board to help, five of the men, including Mr. McHugh, hopped off its deck and onto Judge Kuhlman's pontoon, which later deposited them at the International Park docks.

"We were lucky. Two more minutes and the boat would have been gone," Mr. McHugh said. "Two more minutes and there would have been seven old men swimming."

As Judge Kuhlman used a bucket to bail out the water, a Coast Guard rescue craft pulled up beside the sinking boat and used its motorized pump to get the rest of the water out. The Coast Guard vessel then towed Quiet Time II to Brenner 75 at Harrison's marina.

Judge Kuhlman remained on board Mr. Feeley's boat until it arrived at the arena. Halfway through the journey, he discovered the cause of the men's trouble: a 1 1/2-inch diameter hole in the bottom of the boat.

Apparently the cap was missing from a depth sounder hole.

"I took a rag and stuffed it in the hole," Mr. Kuhlman said. "When it got to Harrison's, it wasn't even leaking anymore."

The rescued passengers said they were thankful for Judge Kuhlman's and the Coast Guard's fast response to their distress.

"We were very lucky," Mr. McHugh said.

Contact JC Reindl at:

jreindl@theblade.com

or 419-724-6065.



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