Doomed skipper’s call saves four

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A 25-year-old man died trapped beneath a boat — but not before calling 911 to help save his fellow passengers, according to a Newsday report.

The 26-foot Four Winns Liberator powerboat ran aground and overturned at about 11:45 p.m. July 22 on the west side of the Hudson River marsh near Highland Falls, about 50 miles north of New York City. The skipper told authorities he tried turning when he realized the vessel was running aground, but then it overturned, trapping passengers beneath in the marsh, according to the report.

The 25-year-old made two calls from beneath the boat and the connection was lost both times, but the dispatchers were able to pinpoint an approximate location. Boats, helicopters and cars were sent from Putnam,Orange,Rockland and Westchester counties to look for the boat. After an hour, a PutnamCounty sheriff’s boat spotted the upturned vessel hidden behind weeds 10 feet tall, according to a report in the Times-Herald Record. Rescue crews inflated air bags to lift the hull of the boat and set the passengers free.

The man who made the call, however, was pronounced dead by a PutnamCounty coroner after the boat’s crew was taken to nearby Garrison Yacht Club. A specific cause is not yet known, although an autopsy has been planned, according to the report. There has been no evidence found that alcohol was involved.

— Elizabeth Ellis

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