Missing person report issued for owner of sinking boat

Police return to the shore after they were unable to locate a sailboat that had issued a distress call Sunday afternoon. (Credit: Grant Parpan)
A police boat returns to the shore after officers were unable to locate a sailboat that had issued a distress call Sunday afternoon. The U.S. Coast Guard is continuing the search. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

A missing person report is being filed for the owner of a sailboat that made a distress call from the Long Island Sound Sunday afternoon, according to a Riverhead Town police press release.

Ciro Stellges, 59, of Selden was operating a 26-foot fiberglass sailboat named “MAC” when he called 911 at around 1 p.m. and told police his boat was “taking on water,” officials said. The sailboat was built in 1977 by C&C Yachts and its registration number is NY7059FR, police said.

It’s possible Mr. Stellges made the distress call while his boat was sinking near Wading River beach, police said. He had left from Mattituck earlier in the day and was heading to Port Washington, officials said.

The Riverhead Police Dive Rescue Team and Suffolk County Police Department Aviation and Marine units searched for the sailboat, officials said, and Jamesport and Wading River fire departments were on standby.

The boat was not found after a more than 60-minute police boat search of the water, officials said. The police search was finally called off shortly after 2 p.m., but the Coast Guard confirmed at 3:30 p.m. that it is “in the process of conducting a search.”

An officer from the Coast Guard station in New London, Conn. said its search is focused three miles off the shore between Jamesport and Mattituck. The Coast Guard is using two 45-foot boats and a helicopter to search for the missing sailboat, an officer confirmed at 5:30 p.m.

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