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3 rescued from choppy Plum Gut Harbor waters, authorities say

Two Shirley men were rescued Saturday night from choppy Plum Gut Harbor waters while a third was helped off their sinking wooden boat that had struck rocks around the Plum Gut lighthouse, authorities said.

The two men were in the water for longer than 45 minutes, Orient Fire Department Chief Bill Wysocki said. They were taken to Eastern Long Island Hospital for hypothermia but otherwise appeared uninjured, police said.

“They’re all cold,” Wysocki said.

The men were found where Gardiners Bay meets the Long Island Sound just off Orient Point in the harbor.

“It’s pretty choppy out here,” he said. “It’s very windy, cold.”

Steven DiStefano, a passenger on the 1963 34-foot Chris Craft wooden boat, called Southold police at 6:39 p.m., police said in a news release. He told authorities that he and Michael Cigna, the boat’s owner, and Patrick Brinker, another passenger, were in the sinking vessel in the “Greenport Canal.”

When authorities couldn’t find the boat between Greenport and Shelter Island, police dispatchers questioned the men and determined they were off the tip of Orient Point.

Orient firefighters on an inflatable raft rescued Cigna, who had floated about a quarter-mile northwest of the boat on a cushion. The crew of the Plum Island ferry, the J.J. Callis, rescued DiStefano from the protruding bow of the sunken boat. Crewmen from the J.J. Callis then found Brinker, who wasn’t immediately seen in the rough waters, the release stated.

An Orient firefighter was also taken to the hospital for a knee injury that occurred when he was rescuing Cigna, according to the release.

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