A Coram man nearly drowned Sunday afternoon when trying to anchor a boat in Port Jefferson, but was rescued by Good Samaritans and Marine Bureau officers, Suffolk County police said.
Alan Goldberg, 70, "lost his footing and became unresponsive in the water" around 2:30 p.m. when he attempted to position a boat on Whitehall Beach, police said Sunday afternoon. The man sustained serious injuries.
Francis George, 30, of Oyster Bay was on an anchored boat nearby, celebrating Father’s Day with his father, Karl George, 65, of East Setauket, and other family members. George said his family had noticed Goldberg wading into the water but only up to knee-deep depths.
As of Sunday evening, it’s unclear why Goldberg fell into the water. "We just saw he went down suddenly and unexpectedly," George said Sunday evening.
After Goldberg’s family pulled him out of the water, George said he raced to the beach to see if he could help. Once a lifeguard, George has kept up his CPR certification because of his job with Oakcliff Sailing, a nonprofit based in Oyster Bay. His father, a chiropractor who is also certified, helped administer CPR as well.
"You just go into action mode. You clench your teeth. Do what you have to do. Keep it together," George recalled the time he and others took turns to give chest compressions and rescue breaths. "It’s combination of fear and kind of a strange, almost cerebral serenity that you feel while you know you can’t freak out right then and there."
After arriving at the scene, Marine Bureau Officers Cory Kim and Shane Parker continued CPR as Goldberg was transported to the Port Jefferson Boat Ramp. He was transferred to an ambulance and taken to St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson.
George said he and his family were able to share some special moments afterward.
"There’s a lot more thankfulness and appreciation of being together and having each other," he said. "It was beautiful before. But it was another day on the boat. Afterwards, it felt like a gift from God."