GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

The Perfect Storm: The Story of the Andrea Gail

June 3, 2008

No Safe Place

MANCHESTER -- Police photographer Richard Towle was determined to stay a safe distance away while capturing the raging seas of last week's storm on film. Be carefully avoided the beach and stayed near the Singing Beach bathhouse.

"All I know is I thought I was safe and the next thing I knew I felt water at my feet. It was moving at a pretty good clip, and I ended up inside the bathhouse with a door on top of me," Towle said.

On Thursday morning, Towle was recovering at his summer home in Weymouth, with more than 100 stitches in his leg and bandages on his head.

"Needless to say my video camera is not in too good shape," Towle said." He said he was trying to salvage the film, but wasn't sure it could be done.

Towle said he didn't sustain any broken bones, but if anyone wanted to take his picture, "I'd make a beautiful sight."

Towle, who takes photographs for town records, said in the past two big storms, including Hurricane Bob, he took pictures and thought if there was damage from this one, the town would undoubtedly have to apply for relief funds.

"I said to myself, I'm going to be safe. The next thing I knew...," Towle said.

He said the mammoth wave hit him at about 4:45, just at high tide, when it was still light out."

"I just remember getting swept off my feet. I didn't black out. All of the sudden I looked up and I could see a fluorescent light. I thought water and electricity and I got out of there. Somebody gave me a towel for my head," Towle said.

Not knowing how badly injured he was, just that his pants were nearly ripped off, he drove all the way from Singing Beach to a friend's house on Bridge Street.

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The Perfect Storm: The Story of the Andrea Gail