On the afternoon of November 29, 1960, two-year-old Tammy Burnham almost lost her life when the small skiff she was in capsized in Wood Island Harbor. Because of deteriorating weather conditions, the United States Coast Guard called off the search for her and her rescuer, Seaman Edward Syvinski USCG.
Tammy’s father, Laurier Burnham, was the lighthouse keeper on Wood Island, where the family lived. When told of the accident, Burnham was ordered to remain on the island. Once he realized the commanding officer had called off the search for his child and the missing Coastguardsman, Burnham set out, against orders, searching for them himself. He found his child and the seaman, but both were near death. Burnham successfully transported them to the larger USCG boat.
Unfortunately, their problems did not end there as the USCG boat was disoriented in the fog and heavy breaking seas. A local lobsterman would finally render assistance and play a major part in saving little Tammy’s life.
All rescuers were ordered to silence by superior officers. A gag order was implemented resulting in a delay of over 30 years before the men involved became recognized and awarded. Tammy Burnham’s sister played a central role in making the facts public. Today, over 50 years later, Edward Syvinski, who held onto Tammy that fateful night and fought for their very lives, authors his own chapter in ROGUE WAVE, breaking his silence at last. The story has a history of controversy, but readers will easily reach their own conclusions about who and what to believe.
Join us at the Maine Lighthouse Museum on Sunday, September 16th at 1:00 PM for an exciting presentation and book signing with Margo Alley, author of “Rogue Wave”.
Stay after the presentation for our “Make Your Own Sundae Sunday”. I scream, you scream, everybody screams for ice cream! Just $5.00 per person! All of the day’s events benefit the museum!
FREE ADMISSION TO THE MUSEUM ON THIS SPECIAL DAY!
Parking is available at the Trade Winds Motor Inn across the street from the museum.
For more information about the museum and our events, you may call the museum at 594-3301, check our website at www.mainelighthousemuseum.org or Follow us on Facebook.
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