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Fishers Island sunken boat victim identified

Divers recovered the body of a woman Monday morning from a boat that struck a rock Sunday afternoon and sank off Fishers Island, the Coast Guard said.

The victim, found in the cabin by Connecticut fire department divers, was identified as Mary Patenaude, 66, of Pomfret, Conn., who was listed as missing after the 50-foot vessel Priceless sank, minutes after placing a distress call about 2:30 p.m., the Coast Guard said.

Ten people were aboard when the Priceless struck Pulpit Rock, about 500 yards north of Clay Point, in Fishers Island Sound, Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Jeff Janaro said Monday.

The boat sank in 42 feet of water, he said, and nine people and one dog were saved by a nearby vessel, the Salty Dog, based in Woodstock, Conn. No one was injured, the Coast Guard said.

Janaro said the body was recovered about 7:30 a.m.

New York State Police will lead the investigation, Janaro said, while the Coast Guard will be on hand when the Priceless is raised to look out for any oil spill and damage to the environment.

Janaro said the Coast Guard automatically tells a sinking vessel's operator to order passengers to put on life jackets, so it's not clear whether boaters on Priceless had them on before the disaster.

The boat had departed from Westerly, R.I., where it is registered, the Coast Guard said.

After the distress call, Coast Guard helicopters, its boat crews and several Connecticut fire and police agencies worked through the night, searching more than 300 square miles for the missing woman.

With Jennifer Barrios

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