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Official: 3 duck hunters rescued from boat off Mount Sinai

A shotgun is removed from a canoe that

A shotgun is removed from a canoe that capsized in Mount Sinai Harbor with three people aboard on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. An adult and two teens, who were on their way to go duck hunting on a nearby island, were rescued and transported to hospitals for treatment of hypothermia, authorities said. Credit: James Carbone

A man and two teens out for a morning of duck hunting were rescued Sunday by authorities after their canoe took on water in Mount Sinai Harbor and overturned about 600 feet offshore, according to officials.

After a 911 call from one of those aboard, the three boaters — identified by Suffolk County police as James Knipe, 47, his son, James, 17, both of Middle Island, and the teenager’s friend, Kendrick Pisano, 16, of Miller Place — were found by Sixth Precinct officers clinging to the overturned canoe and holding onto life jackets, police said.

According to a police news release, members of the Mount Sinai Fire Department launched an inflatable vessel and rescued the younger Knipe and Pisano, while Suffolk Police Marine Bureau officers pulled the elder Knipe from the water.

All three were taken to hospitals for treatment of hypothermia.

The Knipes were treated at Stony Brook University Hospital and Pisano was treated at John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson.

Police said the water temperature at the time was about 45 degrees.

“My guys told me they were freezing — hypothermia was starting to set in after they were on the [rescue] boat,” Mount Sinai Fire Chief Jaime Baldassare said of the two teens who were rescued by firefighters. He added the water at that point measured about 15 feet.

Baldassare said the three were using the boat — which he described as “possibly” measuring about 14 feet — to go duck hunting on a nearby island.

“There are several islands out in the harbor you could go to,” said Baldassare, adding that the fire department was dispatched to the scene at 8:49 a.m.

Police said the father called 911 on his cellphone. Suffolk police notified the Coast Guard and the Mount Sinai Fire Department.

“The original call we got is that it (the capsized boat) was about 200 feet off the launch ramp and it was not; it was in the lower part of the harbor about 600 or 700 feet offshore,” Baldassare added.

Suffolk County Marine Bureau Sgt. John Vahey said the call about the boat capsizing was received at 8:48 a.m. and that the rescue by members of the Marine Bureau and the Mount Sinai Fire Department took about 15 minutes.

Marine Bureau officers recovered and secured the vessel, the victims’ belongings, and three shotguns from the harbor.

In the news release, the Marine Bureau reminded boaters and hunters that New York state law requires that personal flotation devices be worn at all times on vessels less than 21 feet in length, from Nov. 1 to May 1.

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