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Cops: 3 men caught by rip current in Ocean Bay Park rescued by marine officers, off-duty lifeguard

Three men caught in a rip current were pulled from the ocean off Fire Island on Friday afternoon, Suffolk police said.

Police said two Marine Bureau officers and an off-duty lifeguard rescued the three men, who had been swimming off the barrier island community of Ocean Bay Park. Police said around 1:30 p.m., Peter Giorgianni, 62, of Babylon, was swimming in the ocean when he caught a rip current that pulled him out to sea. Seeing what had happened, Michael Baruch, 22, of Smithtown, and Kevin Mannix, 49, of Nesconset, went into the water to try to rescue Giorgianni, but a rip current caught them and also pulled them out to sea, police said.

Marine Bureau Officers Charles Giardella and Michael Malone came to their aid. Police said Giardella grabbed a life ring and rescue line and, along with an off-duty lifeguard from Point O'Woods, plunged into the water after the three men. Malone stayed on shore to coordinate the rescue and communications, police said.

Giardella and the lifeguard swam about 100 feet past the breakers, where Giardella passed the life ring to Giorgianni. Giardella then swam back to shore, dragging the life ring by the rescue line and tugging Giorgianni back to the beach through rough waters and 4-foot high surf, police said.

Once Giorgianni reached safety, Giardella went back into the water and again swam past the breakers to help Mannix and Baruch back to shore.

Later, police said Giorgianni told the officers he didn't think he would have survived if they hadn't rescued him.

A police boat took Giorgianni to Marine Bureau headquarters in Great River, then an Islip Exchange Ambulance took him to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore for treatment. Mannix and Baruch refused medical attention, police said.

Police advised beachgoers to swim only on guarded beaches. If caught in a rip current, Marine Bureau officers say to remain calm, and do the following:

• To get out of the rip current, swim parallel to the beach.

• When out of the rip current, swim at an angle away from the rip current and toward shore.

• If you can't escape this way, float or calmly tread water.


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