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Long IslandCrime

Five rescued after boat with drunken operator overturns in Great South Bay, police say

An East Meadow man was  charged with boating while intoxicated after the powerboat he was operating overturned Sunday night and he and four passengers were dumped into the waters off Heckscher State Park, Suffolk County police said.

Police charged Frank M. Ciccolella, 35, with  the misdemeanor after multiple police vessels responded to a 911 call about the 24-foot Superboat taking on water heading from Ocean Bay Park to Bay Shore at 10:58 p.m. Sunday.

The Marine Bureau vessel Marine Kilo arrived first, and officers found Ciccolella and four passengers in the water in the Great South Bay, holding on to the overturned speedboat. Only two wore life jackets, police said.

Marine Kilo took three people aboard; Islip Marine Patrol picked up the other two. All were taken to Timber Point, where they declined medical assistance.

Ciccolella pleaded not guilty in a Monday arraignment at First District Court in Central Islip. He was released on $1,000 cash bail, his attorney, David Howard Besso of Bay Shore, said.

Besso said police allegations were incorrect. "Why they thought he was drinking, I don't know," he said. "His boat was taking on water, so he stopped the boat to find out what was going on."

The vessel continued to take on water and capsized, Besso said, but "everybody on board was calm. Somebody called 911 and they got rescued."

A district attorney spokeswoman said Ciccolella declined to take a test for blood alcohol concentration.

According to records, Ciccolella is also due in Suffolk First District Court on Oct. 10 to answer a January misdemeanor charge of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

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