90-year-old lobsterman survives boat sinking

HARPSWELL, Maine — Less than three days after swimming from his sinking lobster boat to a small island off Long Point, 90-year-old Philip Tuttle laughed when asked if he plans to haul traps again any time soon.

“Course,” he said. “On Thursday, I think. I’m ready. I’m going to be. I’ll be all right.”

Sitting beneath a picture window overlooking the ocean, Tuttle looked down at his heavily bandaged legs and recalled the ordeal that sent him swimming from his sinking lobster boat, the Queen Tut, to rocks, where he was rescued by his relieved family.

Tuttle left his home on Long Point late Saturday afternoon after leaving his wife a note that he was heading out to check a trap and would be right back, his daughter-in-law, Verian Tuttle, said. But when he didn’t return in time for dinner, they knew something was wrong.

The Queen Tut, the 26-foot lobster boat that Tuttle has lobstered in for decades with his children and grandchildren, had run aground on ledges that Tuttle said he has hit before.

This time, though, instead of bouncing off the ledges, the boat rolled onto its left side and began taking on water — fast.

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