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Official: 16 on boat sickened with apparent CO poisoning in Port Jeff

Sixteen people aboard a private pleasure cruiser in Port Jefferson were taken to hospitals Sunday afternoon for treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning on the vessel, according to officials on the scene. Credit: James Carbone

Sixteen people aboard a private pleasure cruiser in Port Jefferson were taken to local hospitals Sunday afternoon for treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning on the vessel, according to officials on the scene.

Captain Ryan, a 35-foot private pleasure craft Rinker, was traveling from City Island in the Bronx to Port Jefferson when 16 of 17 people onboard became sick with carbon monoxide poisoning at approximately 2 p.m., Suffolk Police said.

The boat was able to dock at Danford’s Hotel, Marina & Spa on East Broadway.

Suffolk Marine Bureau, Sixth Precinct officers, members of the Port Jefferson Fire Department, the United States Coast Guard, Brookhaven Town Bay Constables and Fire Marshals responded to the dock and determined there was carbon monoxide inside the boat, officials said.

The victims included 12 adults and four children ages 10 to 13. 

A total of 17 people were aboard the boat, but one individual refused treatment, according to Trip Hoar of Port Jefferson Village Emergency Medical Services.

The injuries did not appear be life-threatening and all of the victims were conscious when they left the dock, said Assistant Port Jefferson Fire Department chief Anthony Barton..

"This was a mass casualty incident," Barton said. "We had 17 patients. That's a big undertaking. It was very serious based on the number of people there were."

Danford's Hotel & Marina on East Broadway declined to comment.

The vessel has been turned over to Suffolk police, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Brookhaven Fire Marshall, Barton said. The three agencies have taken over the investigation, he said.

The origin of the carbon monoxide is under investigation but has been ruled noncriminal, police said. 

After a safety inspection of the vessel, two tickets were issued for expired safety flares and less than the required number of personal flotation devices, authorities said.

The victims were brought to Stony Brook University, Mather and St. Charles hospitals, officials said. 

Six people were admitted to Mather Hospital's hyperbaric unit, said spokesman Stuart Vincent, and they will be staying overnight. A Stony Brook spokeswoman said patients were awake and alert upon arrival and no one was admitted to the critical care emergency department.

A man outside Mather Hospital In Port Jefferson who declined to provide his name said his wife was one of the passengers aboard the boat.

A large group of friends and family, he said, left City Island Sunday looking to spend a day in the port. The man, who said he lived in New Jersey, came aboard a separate boat from his wife.

Most of the passengers were from the Bronx, he said, and were both downstairs and outside the deck during the incident. His wife was given oxygen and he is awaiting word on her condition, the man said.

“It’s unbelievable,” said the man, who was sitting outside the hospital, which is closed to visitors amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “You’re coming to have fun.”

Check back for updates on this developing story.

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