Two adults and three children were rescued from their sinking boat Sunday evening near the Robert Moses Bridge in Great South Bay by a marine unit from the Islip Fire Department, which responded to a mutual aid call along with the West Islip Fire Department.
The rescued boaters, whose identities were not released by authorities, were taken "safely on board" Marine Unit 26, then transferred to a waiting West Islip EMS crew at the West Islip Marina for further evaluation. Islip Fire Department spokesman Robert Delagi said the rescued boaters "were uninjured" and "only shaken up" and did not require hospitalization.
In a statement released Sunday night, Delagi said the call came in at 8:59 p.m. as the marine unit was "securing their vessel after responding to a call for a paddle boarder in distress." Led by Islip First Asst. Chief Ron Pfuhl, pilot Nick Antonelli, engineer Mike Fitall, navigator Bobby Patch and EMT Jeremy Isaacs made their way to the double span of the Robert Moses Bridge in time to find the boaters, a handheld flare marking their position, "struggling to stay on the partially submerged vessel" about a half-mile offshore from the marina.
The marine unit, a 34-foot Silverships Fireboat which is full scuba and service rescue capable, arrived and managed to rescue the three children before the boat, described as a 20-foot Fiberglas outboard, became completely filled with water, rolled over and began sinking, authorities said. The two adults were then rescued and taken aboard the marine unit, which transported everyone to the marina.
"Being that our boat was fully manned and underway when the distress call came in, we were able to quickly respond with the appropriate resources and rescue the occupants of the distressed vehicle as their boat sank, demonstrating the time is of the essence in water rescue scenarios," Pfuhl said in the statement released by Islip Fire Department. It was not immediately clear what caused the boat to sink.