A warm and sunny afternoon on the water in Smithtown turned harrowing Monday, when a strong current nearly sucked a raft carrying a woman and three kids into Stony Brook Harbor.
A 31-year-old woman from Medford, on the raft with children — a pair of 8-year-olds and a 14-year-old — at one point jumped off the raft and into the chest-high water to try to pull the raft back toward the shore as it drifted toward Stony Brook Harbor, authorities said.
At about 12:30 p.m. Monday, bay constables Donny Edwards and George Ronan heard a call over the Coast Guard-Marine radio reporting a raft adrift with three or four people aboard, said Sgt. Charlie Malloy, a supervisor with the Smithtown bay constables.
“Some unknown person saw her in the raft and she was trying to paddle and she was getting pushed by the current,” Malloy said. “She jumped out and she was trying to pull the raft with the kids in it, but she was struggling.”
The woman had launched the 6-foot raft from West Meadow Beach and wanted to stay right off the shoreline, Malloy said.
But the raft was getting pulled toward Porpoise Channel Inlet, an area with notoriously strong currents, and out to Stony Brook Harbor, said Malloy. The raft ended up about a quarter-mile from shore, he said.
“She didn’t expect to get pushed by the current,” said Malloy. “She thought she could paddle against it, but she couldn’t.”
Edwards and Ronan were able to get everyone off the raft and on board the rescue boat, Malloy said. The raft also was plucked from the water. No injuries were reported.
All three of the children were wearing life jackets, Malloy said.
“She did say at one point she thought she was going to lose hold of the rope [that she was pulling the raft with],” said Malloy. “She was very thankful that the bay constables were able to pull them out of water.”
Suffolk Police Marine Bureau also responded to the call, but the bay constables made the rescue, police said.