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Police: Body believed to be missing boater

NYPD Harbor unit works to recover the body

NYPD Harbor unit works to recover the body of a man that fell of a boat near East Rockaway Inlet. Nassau County Marine Bureau and Detectives are on the scene. The body has been brought into the Atlantic Beach Fire Rescue dock were NCPD crime scene is investigating. (Aug. 10, 2012) Credit: Jim Staubitser

Authorities said a body found in East Rockaway Inlet on Friday appears to be that of a Queens man who a friend said fell off the back of his boat Thursday.

A Coast Guard spokesman said the body was recovered at about 11 a.m. -- and that the search for the missing boater has been called off.

Police said they are awaiting identification of the body to determine whether it is Stanislaw Nawrocki, 57, of Forest Avenue, Ridgewood.

Janusz Sowa, 54, the man who was on the boat with Nawrocki and reported him missing, was charged Friday with boating while intoxicated. He registered a .17 percent blood-alcohol content several hours after the incident, more than twice the legal limit, according to court papers.

Sowa, who is homeless, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in First District Court in Hempstead and is being held on $100,000 bond or $50,000 cash. He is being represented by the Nassau County Legal Aid Society, which does not comment on individual cases. He is due back in court Tuesday.

According to court papers, Sowa told police that he had been hanging out at the Forest Avenue train station in Ridgewood drinking beer when his friend Nawrocki, who was also drinking a beer, came by and asked him to go fishing. The two drove to the Crows Nest Marina in Oceanside, stopping on the way to buy vodka, Sowa told police, according to court papers.

Sowa told police that Nawrocki allowed him to drive his boat, a 26-foot 1990 Bayliner, for a time, but took the wheel himself when the current picked up. He said Nawrocki drove the boat under a bridge between two buoys, then cut the engine and walked to the back of the boat, saying he was going to drop the anchor, according to court papers.

At that point, Sowa told police a big wave rocked the boat and Nawrocki fell overboard, according to court papers.

Sowa told police he asked his friend what he could do to help, but Nawrocki said, "Don't worry about it, I'll swim back," court papers said. But Sowa said more waves came and pushed Nawrocki farther from the boat, court papers say. Then Sowa said the boat began to spin, and he lost sight of his friend.

He told police he did not hear Nawrocki call for help.

Sowa said he saw a kayak and another boat pass by and called out to them, but they did not stop. He said after about 10 minutes, he started the engine and made his way back to the marina, where he reported Nawrocki missing, according to court papers. The marina called 911, the Coast Guard spokesman said.

Police said Sowa, who required an interpreter because he speaks Polish, reported the incident about an hour and a half after he said Nawrocki went overboard.

When police arrived, Sowa told them, "My friend fell in the ocean. He is dead," court papers say.

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