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Police & Fire

Watercraft Rider Drifts In Great South Bay For Two Hours

Suffolk County Police Marine Unit rescuers searched for a man who was missing on his watercraft for more than two hours.
Suffolk County Police Marine Unit rescuers searched for a man who was missing on his watercraft for more than two hours. Photo Credit: Suffolk County Police Marine Bureau

A worried wife who called the police when her husband didn't return from a ride on his Yamaha watercraft on Great South Bay set off a wide search for the 52-year-old man. 

William Sullivan, of Bayport, was reported missing around 7:55 p.m., Tuesday, May 21, after failing to return from a planned hourlong ride, said the Suffolk County Police.

Sullivan left Homans Creek aboard the Yamaha watercraft at about 6:30 p.m. and when he didn’t return an hour later as planned, his wife called 911 and reported him missing, police said.

After receiving the call, Suffolk county launched two patrol boats, Marine Kilo, and Marine Mike, along with a helicopter and also called for help from the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Suffolk County Fire Department.

Marine Mike located the watercraft off Barrett Beach at approximately 8:11 p.m., but Sullivan was not aboard and was not found in the area. 

According to police, Sullivan had been knocked off the craft by a wave and floated for approximately two hours before reaching shore near the east end of Fire Island Pines, where he called 911, police said.

Sullivan was transported by Patchogue Fire Department fireboat to Bayport where Sayville Rescue ambulance transported him to Long Island Community Hospital in East Patchogue for evaluation.

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