12/14/14 7:21am
12/14/2014 7:21 AM
The Riverhead BID's annual Holiday Bonfire was held downtown Saturday evening.

The Riverhead BID’s annual Holiday Bonfire was held downtown Saturday evening.

This time, rain did not cancel the downtown Riverhead fireworks show, as it had done twice before this year.

But there was still some unintended excitement at Saturday’s annual Holiday Bonfire, as a woman looking to get a closer look at Santa as he got off his boat, fell into the Peconic River at a time when the outside temperature was in the 30s.  (more…)

07/13/14 10:57pm
07/13/2014 10:57 PM

A rescue by a Good Samaritan in the Long Island Sound near Wading River Saturday night led to confusion when the empty boat was recovered by emergency personnel who had no knowledge of the save Sunday morning, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound.


07/02/13 4:23pm
07/02/2013 4:23 PM
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | A man died Monday afternoon after he tried to retrieve a boat that had drifted away from him in Flanders Bay, police said.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | A man died Monday afternoon after he tried to retrieve a boat that had drifted away from him in this area of Flanders Bay, police said.

A man found unconscious and not breathing in Flanders Bay Monday afternoon who was pulled aboard a U.S. Coast Guard vessel had died and was unable to be revived by medical personnel, Southampton Town police said Tuesday.

The man — whose identity has not been released by police — was clamming with a family member near the mouth of Birch Creek when the wind and tides caused their aluminum boat to come off its anchor and drift away, police said. The victim swam after the boat while his family member “kept an eye on him,” but the family member lost sight of the swimmer, according to a police statement.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | The unconscious man was brought to the boat ramp on Point Road, but could not be revived.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | The unconscious man was brought to the boat ramp on Point Road, but could not be revived.

The family member began to yell and signal for help and a boat from the Long Island Aquarium found the swimmer unconcious in Flanders Bay, police and Coast Guard officials said.

The Long Island Aquarium boat was unable to pull the man aboard, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Michael Fusco. A Coast Guard boat from the Shinnecock station arrived on scene 11 minutes later and pulled the man from the water.

The Coast Guard performed CPR on the man, but the man didn’t regain consciousness, authorities said.

The Flanders-Northampton Volunteer Ambulance Corps took the man from the Point Road boat ramp to Peconic Bay Medical Center, police said. Despite “vigorous and continued efforts” to resuscitate the man, he couldn’t be revived.

The family member was located about 20 minutes later in Flanders Bay by Southampton Bay constables and was pulled to safety, Mr. Fusco said.

Police said the man’s cause of death is still under investigation with the help of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s office.

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07/01/13 4:43pm
07/01/2013 4:43 PM

GOOGLE MAPS | Authorities say two men were pulled from Flanders Bay Monday afternoon

An unconscious man was pulled from Flanders Bay Monday afternoon after a boat sailing from the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center spotted the swimmer in the water, U.S. Coast Guard officials said.

A second man, who was from the same boat, was located still conscious about 20 minutes later in Flanders Bay and was pulled to safety by Southampton Bay constables.

The Coast Guard’s Shinnecock Station got the first report of a swimmer who was unconscious in the water about 2:30 p.m., when a Long Island Aquarium vessel found the man in Flanders Bay, said U.S. Guard Petty Officer Michael Fusco.

The Long Island Aquarium boat was unable to pull the man aboard, he said. A U.S. Coast Guard boat arrived on scene 11 minutes later and pulled the man from the water.

The man was unconscious when he was recovered from the bay, and remained unconscious as he was brought back to shore, Mr. Fusco said.

The Flanders-Northampton Volunteer Ambulance Corps took the man to a local hospital, Mr. Fusco said, though he did not specify which.

Less than 10 minutes after the first man was pulled from the water, a second man was spotted in Flanders Bay near a boat that had drifted away, Mr. Fusco said. That man, who was conscious but had become stranded in the water, was pulled aboard a Southampton Bay Constables vessel, Mr. Fusco said.

Authorities later learned the two men were from the same boat, though Mr. Fusco did not say how they ended up in the water.

Updates on the two men’s conditions were not immediately available.

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06/23/13 5:35pm
06/23/2013 5:35 PM

TIM GANNON PHOTO | A pair of friends was rescued off Hulse Landing Beach in Wading River Sunday afternoon.

The Wading River Fire Department’s water rescue team rescued two people almost a mile off Hulse Landing beach in the Long Island Sound Sunday afternoon.

A woman sailboarder who entered the water in Shoreham was beginning to struggle on the sailboard, and her male friend swam out to help her.

The man, who declined to give his name to a reporter, as did the woman, said he was swimming for about 45 minutes before he finally reached her and told her to hang onto the board while he pulled her to shore. He said he used to be a lifeguard and is a strong swimmer.

Police at the scene said the sailboard was about three quarters of a mile out to sea in the Long Island Sound. A Riverhead Town police officer on a four-wheel drive beach vehicle was alerted by people on the beach, who said the couple appeared to be struggling.

The Wading River Fire Department got the call at about 4 p.m. and initially called for mutual aid from the Riverhead and Rocky Point fire department’s water rescue teams, as well, but they canceled the request after they quickly located the pair in the water. A Suffolk County Police rescue boat also responded.

The pair was safely brought to shore by the Wading River Fire Department boat and both were uninjured and did not need medical attention.  The woman told police she had been in the water since 11 a.m.

The man told a reporter the rescue team “did a great job.”

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06/21/13 5:00pm
06/21/2013 5:00 PM
GOOGLE MAPS | Two people were rescued by a Good Samaritan in a kayak and Wading River firefighters Thursday evening.

GOOGLE MAPS | Two people were rescued by a Good Samaritan in a kayak and Wading River firefighters Thursday evening.

A kayaker helped Wading River firefighters rescue a father and his young daughter from Long Island Sound after their boat capsized Thursday evening, Wading River fire officials said.

A 36-year-old Shirley man and his 10-year-old daughter were in a canoe off Wading River beach on Creek Road when the boat flipped over about 6 p.m. and began taking on water, said Wading River Fire Chief Jim Evans.

“Luckily they had life jackets and a whistle,” Chief Evans said.

The kayaker, a Shoreham woman who was in the area, heard the two stranded boaters using a whistle and came to their aid while fishermen on the beach called 911, Chief Evans said.

The Good Samaritan then paddled next to the flipped canoe and let the girl into her kayak, while the father clung to the side of the boat until rescue arrived.

Wading River firefighters got to the scene about 6:10 p.m. and used a department rescue boat to bring the kayaker and the father and daughter back to shore.

All three were evaluated by Wading River ambulance volunteers, but were not injured, police said. Chief Evans said the kayaker’s quick thinking helped to get the boater back to shore safely.

“She was key,” he said. “[She got] to them in minutes so they could stay afloat, and kept them visible in the water until our boat arrived and got them out.”

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06/02/13 6:20pm
06/02/2013 6:20 PM

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Wading River ambulance volunteers assist a couple that was stranded more than a mile off Wading River Town Beach Sunday.

A Ronkonkoma couple spent two hours stranded in the Long Island Sound Sunday after they had to abandon their inflatable rubber motor boat more than a mile off Wading River Town Beach, Riverhead Town Police said.

The husband and wife said they attempted to swim to shore after the boat’s motor died about 3 p.m., police said. Both of them were wearing life jackets and they were brought to shore shortly after 5 p.m. by a civilian with a raft.

Wading River Fire Department and Riverhead Police officials rushed to the town beach, where they evaluated the couple and treated them with oxygen.

The couple told police they had launched the boat from near Hulse Landing Beach and were about a mile and a half off the shore when the motor died.

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07/09/12 6:58am
07/09/2012 6:58 AM

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | The paddle boat that five people took out into the Sound to go fishing.

Riverhead police and three Good Samaritans rescued five people Sunday evening after their 8-foot-long paddleboat capsized in the Long Island Sound just offshore in Wading River.

The five victims, including a 7-year-old child, were in a small two-person paddleboat fishing in Long Island Sound about 9 p.m. when the boat flipped, tossing them into the water, according to police at the scene.

“They’re saying a wave came and flipped the boat,” said Riverhead police Sgt. Edward Frost. Three of the five victims, including the child, had life jackets on, he added.

Sgt. Frost said police received numerous calls from nearby residents who heard the victims calling for help in the water. A local resident, Danny Sackowitz, kayaked out to his power boat to help, police said. Mr. Sackowitz returned to shore and picked up Riverhead police officer Patrick Lennon, Tom Morris of Wading River, and Mike Rabino of Queens, who helped rescue the victims.

Sgt. Frost said two victims were found floating more than 300 yards offshore, while the other people were discovered farther east. The five victims were members of the same extended family, police said.

No one was injured and the victims refused medical care. The Wading River and Rocky Point Fire Departments were called to the scene, but were not used in the rescue. Suffolk County helicopters were also nearing the scene when they were called off after the five people were rescued.

Sgt. Frost said the situation could have been much worse had the residents not been there to help.

“We had the helicopters coming in … but you can’t beat having that boat there,” he said.

Mr. Morris, who helped pull the victims from the water, said he began calling 911 after he heard the cries for help echoing up the bluff near the seashore.

“We actually heard the distress call up on the hill,” he said. Mr. Morris rushed down to the shore to help and climbed into Mr. Sackowitz’s boat.

He said the victims without life jackets were clinging to the side of the small paddleboat when the rescuers spotted them. Before going back to his home to drink a beer, Mr. Morris said the victims were lucky the night didn’t end tragically.

“It could’ve turned out a lot worse,” he said. “We’ve had drownings around here before.”