It Takes a Village: Oxford Residents Rescue Capsized Boaters


Dave Calloway being pulled into the Tilghman Rescue boat

During the morning hours of November 17, Captain Paul Callahan, who is an Oxford Fire Department Lieutenant, took his sister Susan Callahan Aistrup, son Mike Callahan and friend Mark Ledford out for a fishing expedition in his boat Deven Marie II, only to be alerted by a call from fellow Oxford Volunteer Fireman, Matt Hall checking their location. Matt heard on the emergency radio that three brothers were in the water as their boat capsized, near the location of Paul’s fishing destination.

Paul confirmed that they were only about two miles from the location of the capsized boat. They immediately winded up their rods and set target for Nelson’s Point. As Mark describes it, “Paul hammered down full throttle towards the area of the incident as we all scanned the waters hoping to find the boat.” As they approached they realized it was them. Two men on top of the flipped boat, and one overboard clinging to the side. Mark continued, ”Mike Callahan miraculously spotted the brothers as Paul was doing everything possible to get us coordinated to bring them aboard safely.” Paul added, “it was a team effort.”

The three men in the water were brothers Jon, Dave and Daryl Calloway. Eastern Shore men out duck hunting. Their boat started taking on water and suddenly capsized throwing all three into the frigid water. Daryl and Jon were pulled from the sinking hull of the overturned boat, into Paul’s Deven Marie II, but Dave was weighed down with his gear and the freezing water temperature pushing his body into hypothermia.

Paul captained the boat alongside while Mark and Mike held Dave up. Dave had lost his eyesight and had no strength to help himself aboard. He kept saying, “I can’t see you but I can hear you. Don’t let go. I can’t see!” His arms stiff from shock, the men held steadfast until the Tilghman Island Volunteer Fire Company Rescue boat arrived on the scene. The Deven Marie II crew transferred Dave to the safety of the Tilghman Island Rescue boat. Captain Paul followed the Tilghman Island Rescue boat swiftly with brothers Jon and Daryl onboard. They rushed to meet the ambulance waiting for them at Nelson Point near Bozman, MD. All three brothers survived and Dave’s health has returned and all is well for the Calloway family. Thanks goes to the efforts of well-trained Talbot County firefighters. This is a true Eastern Shore Thanksgiving story.

On the Deven Marie II, Mark Ledford, Mike Callahan, Susan Callahan Aistrup and Captain Paul Callahan



Letters to Editor

  1. Craig Fuller says

    It is great to hear all are safe.

    Thanks for sharing the story!

    I was headed to Oxford for fuel in my Ranger Tug when this occurred and I heard the radio traffic. In addition to what is shared in the report of crucial life saving actions, I can add that the radio reports involving the rescuers and the Coast Guard were as calm and professional as anyone could possibly want to hear….exactly what you hear between air traffic controllers and pilots during emergencies.

    The boating community is made of people sharing a passion for being on the water, also with people willing to look out for one another. It is indeed a great Thanksgiving story for all the individuals and their families; and, it’s a great reminder for the rest of us.

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