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Cops: Central Islip man, 41, drowns in Mattituck Inlet

Police say Leonel Ortiz Lemus went into the water to assist younger swimmers.

Mattituck Fire Department divers search the Mattituck Inlet

Mattituck Fire Department divers search the Mattituck Inlet on Wednesday afternoon for a man whose body was later recovered, Southold police said. Photo Credit: Randee Daddona

A Central Islip man drowned in the Mattituck Inlet on Wednesday afternoon after going into the water to help children, police said.

Leonel Ortiz Lemus, 41, "slipped into deeper water" after he had gone into the inlet to assist the children "who had gone in too deep," Southold Town police said in a news release.

Earlier on Wednesday, authorities gave the man's age as 38. 

Police and the Southold and Mattituck fire departments responded to a call shortly after 3 p.m. about a swimmer in distress in a section of the inlet near Naugles Drive, officials said. Police divers recovered Lemus's body at 4:20 p.m., according to the news release.

Mattituck Rescue crews transported him to Peconic Bay Medical Center, the release stated. 

Mattituck First Assistant Fire Chief Ted Webb said the water's conditions were calm. 

"Everything was done that could possibly be done in this situation," he said.

With John Asbury and Randee Daddona

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