A man found unconscious and not breathing in Flanders Bay Monday afternoon was pronounced dead at the Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead after unsuccessful attempts to resuscitate him, according to Southampton Town Police.
Police said the cause of death is still under investigation, and they declined to identify the victim Wednesday morning. They also refused to disclose the victim’s hometown, stating that the investigation is ongoing.
The victim was clamming near Birch Creek in Flanders Bay with a relative, whom police also declined to identify, when the wind and tide caused their 23-foot aluminum boat to come off its anchor and drift away, Southampton Town Police detectives said in a statement. The victim swam toward the boat in an attempt to retrieve it. After losing sight of him, the second man signaled and yelled to a passing tour boat from Riverhead’s Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center.
People aboard the tour boat spotted the man in the water, near the drifting boat, and called the U.S. Coast Guard for assistance at about 2:30 p.m. Monday. They were unable to pull him aboard, police said, but secured him.
The man was unconscious and not breathing when the Coast Guard arrived 11 minutes later, according to police. The officers pulled him aboard their vessel and performed CPR while they transported him to the Point Road boat ramp in Flanders, where he was transferred to a waiting ambulance from the Flanders-Northampton Volunteer Ambulance and taken to the hospital.
Police said the Peconic Bay Medical Center staff undertook “vigorous and continued efforts” to resuscitate the man, but those measures were unsuccessful.
Petty Officer Michael Fusco said Southampton Town bay constables rescued the relative of the victim, who was stranded in the water. He was not injured.
Southampton Town Police Detective Michael Smith said he did not know how far from shore the men were clamming when their boat went adrift, or how deep the water was at that location.