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Police identify fishermen killed in L.I. Sound in Wading River

Credit: Joe Werkmeister


Suffolk County police confirmed early Sunday afternoon that the two men whose bodies were recovered in Shoreham are the fishermen who were swept into the Long Island Sound Saturday. 

The men were identified as Luis Lala, 20, and Juan Loja, 18, both of Brentwood.

The two men were fishing when they were hit by a wave while crossing Wading River Creek Saturday afternoon and pulled out into the Long Island Sound, police said.

The men’s bodies washed up approximately two to three miles from where they were hit by the wave, according to police.

A man walking his dog found one body around 6 a.m. Sunday and police later located the body of the second man.

The U.S. Coast Guard said Sunday that a 17-hour search was suspended after the two bodies were discovered.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this difficult time,” said Capt. Andrew Tucci, commander of Sector Long Island Sound. “We are deeply saddened by this outcome, and we appreciate the dedicated efforts of everyone involved in the search.”


Police said Sunday that two bodies have been found not far from where police searched the Long Island Sound Saturday for a pair of men who were swept away while fishing near Wading River Beach.

Riverhead Town police said they were unaware of any positive identity yet that the two men were the subjects of Saturday’s search and rescue efforts, deferring further comment to the Suffolk County Police Department.

A Suffolk police spokesperson confirmed the discovery of two adult males in Shoreham and said police were still working on identifying them as of 10:30 a.m.

An 18-year-old man, a 20-year-old man and a third man were fishing around 3:30 p.m. near the shore off Creek Road when an outgoing current swept them away. The third man was able to hold onto a rock, but the water was too much for the other two. Witnesses on the beach then called 911.

“They got caught in a current and they are missing right now,” Wading River Fire Department Chief Kevin McQueeney told the News-Review Saturday evening.

Police said the missing men, who could not swim, are from Brentwood. A fourth man in the group did not enter the water.

A witness told police the two men could be seen grasping each other before disappearing in the water.

The Riverhead Police dive team, Suffolk County Police Marine Bureau, Ridge and Riverhead fire departments, a boat with the Rocky Point Fire Department and Suffolk Police and U.S. Coast Guard helicopters and a cutter all participate din the search effort, which extended overnight.

PHOTO CREDIT: Riverhead Town police officers on the scene on Saturday afternoon. (Credit Joe Werkmeister)