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Coast Guard: Boat flees waters off Montauk after collision

Authorities are looking for the operator of a boat that turned off its navigation lights and fled after a collision late Thursday night in the waters off Montauk Point.

The U.S. Coast Guard said two Massachusetts men had to be rescued from the water after the collision, which occurred about one nautical mile northeast of Montauk just after 11 p.m. Those boaters, whose identities were not released, told the Coast Guard they jumped into the water moments before their vessel, a 21-foot Seaswirl Striper center console, was struck by another boat -- described, officials said, as a center console craft believed to be in the upper 20-foot or low 30-foot range.

A Coast Guard spokesman, Petty Officer Nicholas Meegan of Station Montauk, said other boaters in the area confirmed details of the collision and that authorities were actively checking local marinas for the boat involved in the collision.

"We did take statements from the crewmen," Meegan said, adding: "Before they got hit, they said they jumped off to avoid being injured . . . They stated that after they got hit, the other vessel turned off its navigation lights and continued on making way."

Notified of the collision, the Coast Guard responded to the scene with a 47-foot motor lifeboat from Montauk, but said that another boater in the area had already pulled the two men from the water. There was a fear that the boat that was struck was taking on water and in danger of sinking, but the Coast Guard said an inspection of the craft found it was not sinking -- though it had sustained damage to the port quarter.

Authorities believe the boat that struck the Striper suffered damage to its bow area.

The damaged boat and the two men were taken to Montauk and the Coast Guard then made a search for the suspect boat, but said it could not be located, officials said.

Local authorities, including police, would continue to check area marinas for reports of damaged boats and are asking anyone with information regarding the hit-and-run crash to contact local police or the Coast Guard, officials said.

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