TRIBECA — Emergency crews plucked seven rowers from the Hudson River on Tuesday evening after their rowboat was swept away by the tide and capsized, officials and witnesses said.
The rowboat had taken off from Pier 40 near Houston Street as part of the Village Community Boathouse's weekly public rowing sessions, according to the organization.
"It looked like the boat was out of control going down the Hudson," said Pete Alfano, 37, a finance worker whose building overlooks Pier 25, near West and North Moore streets.
"It hit the pier sideways. It was completely capsized and no one came up. That's when we called 911."
Alfano said two of the rowers were swept out into the river, while the five others held onto the pier. The boat also drifted out into the Hudson.
Divers from the fire and police departments rescued the seven victims off Pier 25 about 5:20 p.m., according to an FDNY spokesman said. The seven victims were taken to New York Downtown Hospital with minor injuries.
Rob Buchanan, of the Village Community Boathouse, said the rowers were not supposed to leave the calm waters of the cove at Pier 40 and venture into the Hudson River because of the tides. He said five of the seven rowers were inexperienced adults ranging from their 20s to their 40s.
"We put out a boat of inexperienced rowers," Buchanan said. "For some reason, they rowed out into the river. On the way down, the tide swept them sideways into the pier. [The boat] started to roll and fill with water."
The nonprofit rowing group never had an incident before in its 10-year history, Buchanan noted.
"It's good that everyone had their life vests on," he said. "I'm glad everyone on their boat kept their cool. Everybody's OK. That's the main thing."