Coast Guard Locates 6 Missing Boaters Near Montauk, NY

NEW YORK–A Coast Guard Station Montauk rescue crew located six missing boaters at 6 a.m. today two miles northeast of Gardiners Island, N.Y., after the boaters failed to return a rented 18-foot boat to Uihleins Marina Tuesday night.

The six boaters, Alex Levine, Aharon Lev Goodman, Levi Kirshenbaum, M. Chazen, Mendy Ben-Shachar, and Mendy Stalvitsk, who are from Brooklyn and Israel and all range in age from 22 to 25 years old, spent over 12 hours adrift in heavy fog before being rescued. They were all wearing life jackets and were reported to be in good physical condition.

The Station Montauk rescue crew took the six boaters on board a 47-foot rescue boat and transported them back to Station Montauk. A Coast Guard crewmember followed the rescue crew in the 18-foot vessel.

The six rented the vessel from Uihleins Marina, located across the harbor from Coast Guard Station Montauk, at 4 p.m. Tuesday for a two-hour trip. They left a brief float plan with a Rabbi from a Brooklyn Synagogue and with Uihleins Marina. The Rabbi called the Coast Guard when the group failed to return by 6:20 p.m.

The Coast Guard immediately contacted nearby marinas, radioed an alert to nearby boaters who may see the missing group, and launched a search along the eastern tip of Long Island Sound that included Montauk Harbor, Plum Island, Fishers Island, Gardiners Island, and Block Island Sound.

Coast Guard Station Montauk and the East Hampton Marine Police launched rescue crews at 7:20 p.m., and Coast Guard Station New London launched a rescue crew at 11:45 p.m.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Chinook, an 87-foot patrol boat based in New London, Conn., was recalled and the cutter was underway by 2:30 a.m. to join the search.

The 18-foot vessel was outfitted with signaling flares and an anchor but did not have a marine band radio. Additionally, none of the boaters were carrying cell phones.

Sea conditions were reported as two-foot swells, air temperatures were 68 degrees, winds reported at five knots, but only 10 yards visibility due to heavy fog.

“We can be happy in that this was a very fortunate outcome,” said Chief Petty Officer Kurt Tremont, Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound command duty officer. “This group did not have a radio or cell phone to alert their Rabbi or rescuers that they were in distress, but they smartly left a float plan telling their Rabbi when they’d return. If they had a radio or a cell phone they likely would have been found much sooner. Due to the thick fog, our search crews were relying completely on radar and operating at reduced speeds. These type of search conditions significantly hamper our ability to locate vessels that aren’t able to communicate with us. Fortunately they did file a float plan, and it probably saved their lives.”

“Although we had a very positive outcome, this case could have certainly ended in tragedy,” said Capt. Daniel Ronan, Sector Long Island Sound Commander. “I am very proud of the Coast Guard and East Hampton crews that participated in this challenging search. Their dedication to duty is inspiring and resulted in saving six lives today. It is definetely a reminder of how dangerous it is on the waters in and around Long Island Sound. Getting underway with all the proper safety equipment each and every time is the best way to protect yourself at sea.”

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