ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A sailor was out for a leisurely boat ride off of Atlantic Highlands over the weekend, but when he went up the mast to fix some ropes, he couldn’t get back down.
Chief of Police Jerry Vasto told CBS2’s Meg Baker he can’t recall ever getting an emergency notice quite like that one.
Pictures taken after the boat was pulled to shore Sunday around 8 p.m. show the man stuck in a most unusual position.
“The fire department got a call through the police department that a man was stuck on a sail,” Chief Vasto said.
You heard right — stuck at the top of a 39-foot pole offshore.
30-year-old Aaron Casey quickly found out he was riding too high, unable to lower himself from the top of the sailboat’s four-story mast in the middle of Sandy Hook Bay.
The boat’s captain below was able to steer into the marina for help.
“Highlands Fire Department positioned their ladder truck on the edge of the ramp where they raised the bucket of the truck to the top of the mast and the subject was removed from the mast,” Fire Chief Brian Sheehan said.
Casey was no fish out of water since he’s an experienced sailor, but the pulley to bring down the mast upon its return was jammed. He climbed to the top to untangle the ropes, when suddenly Sheehan says the rigging got caught or became disabled.
“He couldn’t move up or down so that’s why he got stuck on top of the mast,” he said.
Casey was at the top of the mast for over an hour on the water. His family tells CBS2 he is incredibly grateful to the fire department for getting him down in less than ten minutes.
“He was just a little embarrassed because he got stuck on a mast,” Sheehan said.
Casey refused medical treatment and told first responders he was just happy to have two feet on the ground.
The Casey family is supposed to participate in a sailing race this upcoming weekend if they can manage to fix their boat.