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Man dies after being pulled from Rockaway waters, FDNY says

A man who FDNY units pulled Wednesday from the water off the Rockaways died after he had been in the water for nearly an hour, officials said.

Firefighters from four units retrieved the man, described as being in his 20s, from the water after he was apparently taken out by a rip tide near a rock jetty off Beach 67th Street, according to firefighter Kelly Coyle, one of the responding firefighters from Ladder 134.

Coyle said that the call about a distressed swimmer came into the department at about 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday. With the water temperature estimated to be around 50 degrees, responding firefighters donned wet suits, said Coyle.

The jetty created a rip tide that developed a hole about 10 to 15 deep that has a steep drop-off which can be deceptive to swimmers, explained Coyle. Firefighters, some on watercrafts and with scuba gear, searched for about 50 minutes before one of them noticed the man’s arm bobbing in the water about 50 yards from shore, Coyle said.

The man, who officials wouldn’t identify, was finally placed on a rescue board and towed in to shore while firefighters did chest compressions on him, said Coyle. He was taken to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, where he was pronounced dead.

Aside from Ladder 134, other responding units included Ladder 121, Rescue Four and Squad 270, a special operations command that can do rescues and fight fires, said an FDNY spokesman.

Coyle said that bathers should avoid the water this time of year since life guards are not yet on duty.

“Going in the water is too dangerous,” he said.

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