Coast Guard Rescues Three Teens in Long Island Sound

NEW YORK–The Coast Guard rescued three people after they entered the water and were carried away from their 21 foot motor boat 6 miles from the coast of Northport, N.Y., in Long Island Sound at 6 p.m. today.

Michael Romano, 16, George Casares, 17, Stephen Szalay, 16, and Christopher Loenberg, 17, a group of friends from Kings Park, N.Y., were boating when Loenberg fell from the boat without a lifejacket.

Casares and Szalay jumped into the water with three life jackets and a life ring and swam towards him. The two were able to reach him and hand him a life jacket but they were unable to swim back to the boat because the tide was carrying it away.

Romano, who remained on the boat, was unable to start the engine and called 911 operators. Emergency operators passed details of the situation to the Sector Long Island Sound Command Center in New Haven, Conn., at 5:40 p.m.

Rescue boat crews from Coast Guard Station Eatons Neck, Suffolk County Marine Bureau, Northport Fire Rescue, Suffolk County Fire Rescue and a Coast Guard Auxiliary air crew responded.

The Auxiliary air crew arrived on scene first and immediately located Romano on the adrift boat. The crew passed its location to the command center, narrowing the search pattern as the boat crews zeroed in on likely locations of the missing teens, said Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Dash who helped coordinate the search from the command center in New Haven.

The teens were found floating together, clinging to the life ring and trying to swim to shore. They were plucked from the 58 degree water by the crew from Station Eatons Neck at 6 p.m.

“One of them was getting hypothermic. His teeth were chattering really hard. I’m glad we got there as quick as we did,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Yancy Matthews, one of the rescue crew from Eatons Neck.

They were taken ashore at a nearby beach where EMTs were waiting to treat them. They were taken to Huntington Hospital in stable condition.

“This was an excellent example of Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteers, and county and local agencies working quickly to notify one another and coordinate search and rescue efforts,” said Capt. Peter Boynton, Sector Long Island Sound Commander. “Time of day and cold water temperatures were our main concerns. This case could have easily resulted in severe hypothermia or death for the three people in the water,” he added.

The Coast Guard urges all boaters to use caution. Even though air temperatures are on the rise water temperatures are slow to warm and still very dangerous. Wearing a life jacket and having the right equipment is often the difference between life and death.

Make sure your boat is properly equipped by getting a free vessel safety check from the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the volunteer arm of the Coast Guard.

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