Yesterday morning, a pair of Long Island fishermen were able to rescue three men and two children from an overturned boat about three miles from Atlantic Beach. Newsday reports that Martin Safer, who was with John Bologna, had noticed the 21-foot Cobia Fish Tracker 300 yards from him, "When he looked back moments later, the boat was sinking and people were in the water shouting for help."
Safer and Bologna pulled up the men, 48, 54 and 56, and the 8- and 10-year-old boys, and Safer said the children "were in shock when we first brought them up screaming." Then the men from the capsized boat started yelling about "D," a sixth person. The rescue for him was dramatic. According to the Post, "Two NYPD divers rescued the missing passenger from the submerged boat, fighting through six-foot swells and tangles of fishing lines to save him."
Detective Jeffrey Dowling, a 10-year veteran and lead diver of the NYPD scuba team, and Detective Barren Blum led the harrowing rescue after jumping from a helicopter hovering over the water.
The bouncing boat was upside-down and 80 percent submerged when they came on the scene, and the vessel’s bow was sticking up because of an air pocket in the cabin.
The brave rescuers could feel the boat sinking and were about to bail when they saw two feet sticking out of the cabin, NYPD officials said.
Dowling grabbed the unconscious man and held him against his chest as Blum guided them out.
The man is in critical condition at Staten Island University Hospital, while the others were treated for minor exposure.
It's believed that one adult and the two boys had life jackets; Cory Nussbaum, an officer at Station Jones Beach, told the Post, "Life jackets are proven to help save lives, whether your vessel capsizes, you fall overboard, or may be unconscious. The important thing is to remember to wear your life jacket at all times and ensure everyone aboard your vessel knows how to respond to emergencies."