Authorities Sunday identified the bodies of two men found earlier in the day on the beach in Shoreham after they were reported missing while fishing with a third member of their party near Wading River.
A Suffolk police spokeswoman said Luis Lala, 20, and Juan Loja, 18, both of Brentwood, and the third person were hit by a strong wave while crossing Wading River Creek Saturday afternoon and then pulled out into the Long Island Sound.
The third person, identified by Riverhead police as David Lema of Middle Island, was able to make his way to shore and call for help. Lema’s age was not released.
A man walking his dog about 6 a.m. Sunday found one of the bodies and when police responded they located the body of the second man, said the Suffolk police spokeswoman. The bodies came ashore about two to three miles from where the wave hit them, she said.
“This is an absolute tragedy,” said Lt. Matthew Richards, a spokesman for the Coast Guard. “We put forth all of our search efforts throughout the afternoon and night and we wish we could have found them.”
The agency was called about 3:30 p.m. Saturday and told that three men had been fishing and two of them were missing, said U.S. Coast Guard Lt. J.G. Bradley Nelson Sunday at the agency’s Long Island Sound command center in New Haven, Connecticut.
Nelson said the three were pulled under by the current. Lema managed to grab onto a rock, pull himself to shore and call for help, though he could no longer see the other two men, Nelson said.
A total of 95 square nautical miles — about 12 miles wide and six miles long — was searched, Nelson said.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this difficult time,” said Capt. Andrew Tucci, commander of Coast Guard’s Long Island Sound sector. “We are deeply saddened by this outcome, and we appreciate the dedicated efforts of everyone involved in the search.”
A Coast Guard helicopter and another from the Suffolk County Police Department were involved in the search in addition to a 110-foot Coast Guard patrol boat, Nelson said. Suffolk and Riverhead Town police were the lead investigators, he said.