Lindenhurst man's 911 call leads to kayakers' rescue

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Two kayakers in distress were rescued after a Lindenhurst man who heard them out in the water called 911, Coast Guard officials said Wednesday.

Gem Hattat, 19, was walking the docks of a Lindenhurst marina at 8:54 p.m. Monday when he heard something offshore, he told the Coast Guard.

He promptly called 911, and his report went to the Coast Guard and Suffolk County police, according to a news release by the federal maritime agency.

"Once notified of the possible distress, the Coast Guard issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast and dispatched a 25-foot rescue boat from Station Fire Island," the release said. " . . . Once on scene, the marine police found two kayakers who had fallen in the water and needed help. The pair was quickly assisted and brought to safety."

Lt. Shannon Smith, of the Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound, said both were in "good condition" and returned to the shore. Smith said she had no further information.

"I wasn't sure exactly what I had heard," Hattat told the Coast Guard, "but I knew that if I was in distress and yelling for help, I would hope that someone on shore would risk looking foolish and just make the phone call."

Cmdr. Jonathan D. Theel, chief of response for the Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound, praised Hattat's quick response.

"His actions enabled the Coast Guard and Suffolk County Police to rescue two mariners," the release said. "It is important to note that Mr. Hattat was willing to stay on scene and provide additional information to the responders when they arrived."

Hattat said in the news release he was glad to hear the two kayakers were brought safely to shore.

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Neither of them was wearing a life jacket, the release said.

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