Three New York City men were rescued from a sinking sailboat Thursday night during gale-force winds and unusual 5- to 6- foot waves in the Long Island Sound off Wading River, Suffolk Police said.
Wading River firefighters attempted to reach the boat, but Suffolk Marine Bureau officers beat them to it. Four firefighters were later treated for precautionary reasons because their body temperatures had dropped, fire officials said.
Suffolk Police said a “mayday” emergency call came in about 7:20 p.m. Thursday, with marine officers responding in a rescue vessel called November. But after finally locating the sinking 30-foot sailboat some two miles off shore, the whipped up waters made it impossible for marine officers David Goldstein, Matthew Funaro and Christopher Richmond to tie the two vessels together, officials said.
“One boater jumped from the sailboat over to Marine November and was grabbed by Officer Goldstein,” read a Suffolk Police press release. “The two other boaters were convinced to evacuate the sinking sailboat and were pulled from the boat by Marine Bureau officers.
“A United States Coast Guard vessel based out of New Haven, Connecticut , which assisted in the rescue effort, attempted to secure the sinking vessel but was unable to do so.”
The victims were then transported to St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson for hypothermia and nausea. One of the men also injured his leg during the ordeal, though the injury was not serious, police said.
The victims were identified as boat owner Jong Solano, 29, of Whitestone, Queens, operator Frederick Chandler and passenger Nicholas Condos, both 28 and of Manhattan. The trio told police they had bought the boat, called Tri Colour, on Wednesday.
The would-be sailors said “they were unaware the weather would change on such short notice,” police said.
Wading River fire chief Eric Cohen said rescue boat vessels from the Rocky Point and Riverhead fire departments were also ready to assist in the rescue, but didn’t need to launch their boats.
His department’s boat was launched from the Shoreham Power Plant.
“It was a quick launch, but it was slow to get there,” Mr. Cohen said, adding Suffolk Police had the situation under control by the four firefighters got there. “It was a slow ride because it was so rough.”
Mr. Cohen said the firefighters were taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead where they were treated and released.