Officials mounted a search for a Queens man who fell off a fishing boat in East Rockaway Inlet Thursday afternoon in an accident that was reported hours later by his friend, the Coast Guard said.
The two men were in a Zodiac-type inflatable boat with a motor when Stanislaw Nawrocki, 57, of Ridgewood, fell into the water, the Coast Guard said.
The other man "started searching by himself, and after an hour, hour and a half, of searching, decided to go on shore and let somebody know," said Petty Officer Anthony Kozak.
"He traveled all the way up to Crow's Nest Marina to report it," said Chief Petty Officer Frank St. Pierre, the command duty officer at Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound. "It took him a while."
The marina called 911, the Coast Guard said. By then it was about 5 p.m., two to three hours after the accident, authorities said.
The Coast Guard asked anyone who knows Nawrocki to contact the agency and help with the search by calling 203-468-4401.
Kozak said there was a language barrier because the man making the report speaks Polish, and an interpreter was provided by police. The man also appeared to be intoxicated, he said.
The Coast Guard, which sent out several boats, including a 47-foot vessel, also dispatched a Falcon jet from its Cape Cod base to join the search.
But as night fell, the Falcon was sent back to Massachusetts and a Coast Guard helicopter took its place. The chopper was equipped with an infrared system that picks up heat as a dark spot among a "white noise" background, the Coast Guard said. Air rescuers were also planning to wear night-vision goggles during the search.
The search was expected to go on all night or until the man was found.