Police: Boat capsizing was an accident

Two Long Island fisherman help rescue three men and two boys after their boat capsizes off Atlantic Beach. Videojournalist: Jim Staubitser (Sept. 22, 2012)

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The capsizing of a 21-foot fishing boat off Atlantic Beach Saturday that dumped six people into the water and sent one of them to the hospital was an accident, said a spokeswoman for the Nassau Police.

A 49-year-old Queens man remained in critical condition Monday at Staten Island University Hospital, said Christian Preston, the hospital's public relations manager.

The hospital spokesman did not provide a name or other information about the man, who was beneath the capsized boat for nearly 15 minutes Saturday morning before a New York City Police Department diver rescued him.

At that time he had a pulse but was unconscious. He was taken by helicopter to the hospital.

Two fishermen from Long Island rescued three other men and two boys from the water.

Martin Safer, 55, of Lido Beach, and John Bologna, 48, of Oceanside, were fishing about 3 miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean when the nearby boat, whose passengers were also fishing, overturned.

Less than a minute before the accident, Safer said, he looked to his right and saw the fishing boat about 300 yards away.

When he looked back moments later, the boat was sinking and people were in the water shouting for help.

The rescued men, all from Queens, were 48, 54 and 56 years old, and the boys were 8 and 10, according to Nassau County Police. Their names were not released.

One of the men on the boat had managed to make a brief emergency radio call, saying that the vessel was taking on water, said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Vania Czumak, who was the search and rescue controller.

The Coast Guard traced the location of the distress call and sent boats and a helicopter, Czumak said. NYPD, FDNY and Nassau police also responded.

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