The U.S. Coast Guard rescued a fisherman clinging to a Jim-Buoy Life Float in the ocean off Montauk after his boat sank on Saturday.
The fisherman, whom Coast Guard officials have not identified other than to say that he was a 52-year-old Montauk man, was plucked from the ocean at about 4:15 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, after he was spotted by a birdwatcher.
When the crew of the 47-foot motor lifeboat from the Coast Guard station in Montauk pulled the man from the float, he was hypothermic and disoriented. He did not know how long he had been in the water, but did say he had been the sole person on board, Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Jetta Disco said. He was about 200 yards east of Montauk Point.
The man was transported back to Montauk and taken by Montauk Fire Department ambulance to Southampton Hospital and then airlifted to Stony Book University Hospital for specialized treatment. Investigators were prepared to ask him additional questions once he was able to make conscious statements, Officer Disco said late Monday. The next morning she said no further information was available.
The water temperature was 47 degrees, the air was 38 degrees, and the seas were about 2 feet at the time of rescue, she said.
“The initial report came from a birdwatcher in the area who observed a person in the water that appeared to be hanging onto a life raft,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Brent Walsh, the 47-foot motor lifeboat operator from Coast Guard Station Montauk. “Fortunately we were in the area conducting training at the time of the report and were able to quickly respond to the location of the person in the water, especially since we were quickly losing valuable daylight to search for the fisherman.”
The female birdwatcher, who was not identified, went to The Point restaurant and reported what she had seen through her telescope, officials said. Restaurant employees called East Hampton Town Police, who notified the Coast Guard. The initial call came in at 4 p.m. The Coast Guard lifeboat was conducting a training exercise off Montauk Point at the time and was able to respond immediately, pulling the man from the water just 15 minutes later.
A Coast Guard spokesperson said that the man had been aboard the commercial fishing boat Support out of Montauk Harbor when it capsized and sank about six miles offshore on Saturday.
It remained unclear how the boat sank or how long the man had been in the water before he was rescued.