An unoccupied GMC Sierra pickup truck and an attached trailer sank into Cold Spring Harbor Saturday as the truck's driver was trying to move two personal watercrafts off a trailer attached to the truck at a town boat ramp, fire officials and witnesses said.
No one was in the truck at the time and no one was injured, officials said.
At about noon, the truck's driver, 19, who was pulling one of the devices into the water, saw the back end of the vehicle begin to slide into the water and cried out, "My truck! My truck!" said witness Robert Fleming, 71, who lives near Newport, R.I., and frequently visits the area.
Nearby, Mark Cooperman, 51, and his son, Brandon, 19, of Plainview, saw the truck go under and went to help detach the second personal watercraft from the trailer. Mark Cooperman said his son cut a line holding the device to the trailer, and the trailer then sank.
The truck's driver and his father did not want to be interviewed.
Chris Ingwersen, chief of the Cold Spring Harbor Volunteer Fire Department, said the department responded immediately and found that no one was inside the vehicle. The Huntington Manor Fire Department and Atlantic Steamer Fire Company, from Oyster Bay, also responded.
Three hours later, the truck and trailer were removed from the water by a tow truck and a Huntington Manor Fire Department truck, which had attached a cable to the vehicle.
This is not a new occurrence at the Town of Huntington's Cold Spring Harbor boat ramp. Typically, the fire department receives two to three "vehicle in water" calls a year at the location, Ingwersen said.
There are cautionary postings near the ramp for boaters. "Town is not responsible for damage to boats or trailers," reads one sign. "Caution - ramp drops off at low tide," reads another.
Low tide at that location on Saturday was at 11:27 a.m.Keith Tetrault, public safety officer for the Town of Huntington, said the boat ramp is "slimy" and "drops pretty rapidly."
The Coast Guard, the Huntington harbormaster and Suffolk County Police also assisted.
"Thank God no one got hurt," Ingwersen said.