Spring on Long Island Sound brings 2 fatalities

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Before most recreational boaters in the Northeast had even begun prepping their boats for another season, the Coast Guard responded to several incidents in the Tri-State area, which collectively resulted in two fatalities.

Before most recreational boaters in the Northeast had even begun prepping their boats for another season, the Coast Guard responded to several incidents in the Tri-State area, which collectively resulted in two fatalities.

On April 13, a Coast Guard rescue crew rescued two aboard a 25-foot sailboat being battered by reportedly 10-foot seas and 25-knot winds near Fire Island off the south shore of Long Island.

Dexter Denton, 67, of Grand Bay, New Brunswick, and his uncle Lawson Kinghorne, 73, of Grand Manan, New Brunswick, were rescued by the Coast Guard 30 miles south of Long Island after their boat was slammed by a wave, rolled and took on more than 3 feet of water. Denton said he was thrown overboard while Kinghorne was struck by a window dislodged by the wave, injuring his arm.

The sailors called for help on a VHF radio and the mayday call was relayed from a barge operator to the Coast Guard, which dispatched a 47-foot motor lifeboat rescue crew from Station Fire Island, a rescue helicopter crew from Cape Cod. Suffolk County Police boat and helicopter crews also responded.

A Coast Guard rescue swimmer was lowered from the helicopter onto the sailing vessel to check on the condition of the people on board and confirm they placed the distress call.

The vessel sustained some damage but remained seaworthy and was towed to Coast Guard station Fire Island. The men were treated and released.

The Coast Guard on March 29 suspended the search for a man missing in Long Island Sound near Milford Point, Conn., after a 12-hour search of the area involving 10 boats and helicopters from numerous agencies.

Daniel Greene, 52, of HamdenConn., disappeared from a 20-foot sailboat about two miles from shore March 28 between 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Greene was the second boater to disappear in this area within a 24-hour period. Kenneth Thomson, 79, of SuffolkCounty on Long Island, reportedly fell out of his dinghy March 29 and presumably drowned.

“Air temperatures in the 60s and 70s can be deceptive when water temperatures [are] at barely 40 degrees,” Coast Guard Lieutenant Kris Tsairis, Sector Long Island Sound, said in a released statement.

Chris Peckham and Laurie Brindisi were passengers aboard the sailing vessel with Greene Wednesday. They reportedly awoke from a two-hour nap at 6:30 p.m. and found Greene missing, prompting the multiagency search. Peckham and Brindisi told investigators that Greene wasn’t wearing a life jacket.

The search was suspended based on weather conditions, water temperature, the age and size of the victim, the lack of a life jacket and the extent of the search, says Tsairis.

“If he was on the surface we likely would have found him with so many assets involved in a relatively small search area,” said Tsairis. “It’s still always a difficult decision to suspend a search,” he added. As of April 13, Greene’s body had still not been recovered.

Suffolk County Police Department Marine and Aviation Bureaus, Connecticut State Police, Connecticut State Department of Environmental Protection Environmental Conservation Police, Bridgeport Police Department, Milford Police Department, Coast Guard Station New Haven and Air Stations Atlantic City and Cape Cod were involved in the search.