An off-duty Coast Guardsman from Shelter Island rescued six Connecticut boaters from the waters of Greenport Harbor after they were ejected from their boat Monday afternoon, officials said.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Patrick O'Halloran, 27, was nearby on a private vessel and was the first on scene at 5:24 p.m. to help the boaters out of the water just south of Greenport Ferry North Terminal, Coast Guard officials said. They were all wearing life jackets, officials said.
"I've been in the Coast Guard for three years and it was unreal watching this happen in front of me," said O'Halloran, a boatswain's mate at Coast Guard Station Chatham on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. "I realized I needed to make sure they were safe and that the boat was away. Once I saw they were OK, I made my approach and pulled them out of the water."
The boaters had traveled from Connecticut to Greenport on a 37-foot cigarette boat, Southold police said. The vessel apparently "tipped over with the motor still running," Coast Guard officials said.
Police identified the driver of the boat as Christopher Shakir, 27, of Hebron, Connecticut. The passengers were identified as Christopher Ginelewicz, 45, of Newington, Connecticut, Clint Shakir, 28, of Chaplin, Connecticut, Derek Chokas, 32, of Manchester, Connecticut., Justin Shakir, 31, of Manchester, Connecticut, and Michael Massi, 45, of Southington, Connecticut.
They were treated at the dock by the Greenport Fire Department and released, police said.
William Anderson, chief of the Shelter Island Fire Department, which also responded, said the unoccupied power boat was "running around in circles" and an official from Sea Tow "jumped in the boat and stopped it."
Bill Barker, owner of the Southold-based Sea Tow Eastern Long Island, said one of his employees boarded the boat and "pulled the throttle back and shut the motor off with the keys."
He said the boat was towed to a dock, but a short time later the boaters re-boarded and headed home to Connecticut.