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Suffolk police rescue stranded duck hunter in sub-freezing temps

A duck hunter who became stranded on an island in the Great South Bay amid howling winds and subfreezing temperatures was rescued by the Suffolk County police Wednesday evening -- with a little help from his cellphone.

Police said Christopher Rowlinson, 20, of Great River paddled his canoe to Nicoll Island near the entrance to the Connetquot River late Wednesday evening to go duck hunting. When he tried to paddle back to shore after sunset, he met with strong head winds and ice that had formed on the river, preventing him from getting back.

Rowlinson used his cellphone to call his family, who then called 911.

Officers Charles Marchiselli, Edmund McDowell, Christopher DeFeo and Sgt. John Vahey braved the 40 mph winds, subzero wind chill and freezing spray aboard the police vessel Marine Kilo to rescue Rowlinson. They called the duck hunter and told him to turn on his phone's flashlight feature to signal them as they approached.

Police said Rowlinson was found safe and unharmed at 5:55 p.m. and was taken aboard the police vessel, his canoe in tow.

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