Three young swimmers in distress were rescued off Robert Moses State Park Friday afternoon by two state parks police officers and two good Samaritans who jumped into the water, authorities said.
The swimmers -- two females and a male -- and an officer who swam into deeper waters were taken to hospitals, said Richard O'Donnell, New York State Parks police chief. One girl, 17, was unconscious and was airlifted by Suffolk police to Stony Brook University Hospital, where she was in serious condition, he said.
"They went into the ocean in an area where swimming was not open and where there were no lifeguards and apparently could not make their way back to the beach," the chief said.
Two people on the beach saw them struggle and alerted two officers in a nearby police car about 4:45 p.m., he said.
Officer Nathan Sibenik, who graduated from the police academy May 10, handed his gun belt to his partner and jumped into the water to help two swimmers, both 18, O'Donnell said.
At the same time, Ryan Mathie of Smithtown, an off-duty lifeguard with friends at the beach, said one of the swimmers shouted that her friend was out there.
Mathie, 20, barely caught sight of a bobbing head far out, on the ocean side of the riptide.
"I swam as fast as I could to the last spot where I saw her bob over a wave," he said. "She was just floating there. As soon as I grabbed her, she started coughing up. I just knew I had to get her to shore as fast as possible and somebody else would take over."
As Mathie swam with her under an arm to a sandbar, Sibenik swam out to meet them. At the sandbar, others helped carry her to medics, police said.
The officer was being treated at Good Samaritan for saltwater ingestion and hypothermia but was expected to recover.