Sailboat breaks free from mooring, crashes against bayfront as downtown St. Augustine floods

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A sailboat that broke free from its mooring and was adrift in the Matanzas River near downtown St. Augustine was able to be secured Thursday morning but was still in danger of breaching the sea wall as the city flooded.

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News4JAX crews saw the sailboat drifting toward the Bridge of Lions early Thursday morning, but St. Johns County Fire and Rescue crews were able to track it down before it hit the bridge and secure it near the bayfront. At some point Thursday morning, the mast of the sailboat broke off.

Water started breaching the seawall on Wednesday, but the floodgates were unleashed Thursday as the storm approached.

By 10 a.m., water was rushing through downtown and into the Plaza de la Constitución.

Water rises Thursday morning in downtown St. Augustine due to Ian effects. (Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

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High tide in the area was just after 11:30 a.m. News4JAX meteorologist Mark Collins said the sailboat was in danger of going over the sea wall if the water level continued to rise.

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The deteriorating weather also caused officials to shut down the Bridge of Lions to anyone trying to get onto Anastasia Island. Lanes to get off the island were still open Thursday morning.

About the Author:

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013. She reports for and anchors The Morning Show.