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Windsurfer rescued during squall in Great South Bay, cops say

Marine Bureau officers plucked a New Jersey windsurfer from the threatening waters of the Great South Bay on Monday, Suffolk County police said.

Donald Roth, 56, of Washington Township, New Jersey, was riding his board in the bay south of Heckscher State Park in Great River at about 6 p.m. when a line of thunderstorms rolled across the water, police said in a news release.

A witness on shore saw stiff winds and high waves sweep Roth from his board, then lost sight of him, police said.

The witness called 911, and New York State Park Police then notified the Marine Bureau and the Coast Guard.

Marine Bureau Officers Keith Magliola and Daniel Smith aboard Marine Kilo began a search, and the Coast Guard dispatched a 29-foot rescue boat from Station Fire Island.

After about 20 minutes, Magliola and Smith found Roth, clinging to his board in waters off Nicoll Point with only his head out of the water, according to police. He was wearing a wet suit and helmet but not a life jacket, police said.

Rescuers encountered a squall with wind gusts of up to 60 mph, according to the Coast Guard, and police said breaking waves in the bay reached 4 to 5 feet.

Officers took Roth to the Heckscher State Park boat basin, where he was met by Park Police. They took him back to his vehicle, and Roth did not require medical attention, the release said.


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