A man identified by Suffolk Police as Dan Ho of...

A man identified by Suffolk Police as Dan Ho of Copiague after being rescued Monday morning from the ocean off Cedar Beach in Babylon. Credit: SCPD

A Copiague man, out for a morning swim Monday off Cedar Beach in Babylon, got pulled far off shore by a powerful current and treaded the Atlantic for about five hours before a passing vessel rescued him, Suffolk County police said.

Dan Ho, 63, went swimming about 5 a.m. but found himself in danger when the currents took him too far out, authorities said.

After treading water without a flotation device for roughly five hours, Ho found a broken fishing pole floating by, tied his shirt to it and waved the makeshift signal in the air in an attempt to notify passing vessels, police said.

Ho was eventually spotted about 2½ miles south of where he entered the water by Jim Hohorst of West Islip, and Michael Ross of Syosset, who were out fishing aboard a 2007 Albin Tropical Soul, police said.

Hohorst and Ross, who initially thought the floating object was a lobster buoy, pulled Ho onto their boat and made a call over their VHF radio for medical assistance, officials said. 

"He was in shock and pretty incoherent at the time," said Hohorst, a former FDNY Marine Bureau officer who estimates the water temperature was about 68 degrees. "We figured he had maybe an hour left. He was very hypothermic and said he had been drinking a lot of salt water."

Ho later told Ross that "I thought I was done," Hohorst said.

Two Suffolk County Marine Bureau police officers met the Tropical Soul in the inlet and began providing medical treatment for hypothermia to Ho, who was conscious and alert but unable to stand, authorities said.

Ho was brought ashore to the United States Coast Guard Station at Fire Island, where he was treated by a Coast Guard medic, and then taken by West Islip Fire Department ambulance to Good Samaritan University Hospital in West Islip.

Suffolk Police did not have an update on Ho's condition Monday evening and hospital officials did not respond to a request for comment.

A photo of Ho being treated by Suffolk County police showed the exhausted swimmer covered with a heated blanket.

Efforts to reach Ho on Monday night were not successful.

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