The U.S. Coast Guard saved three men from the icy water Saturday, while a fourth man was later pronounced dead, after their tug, reportedly the 65-foot Sea Bear, sank one mile from Fire Island National Park, New York.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound Command Center received notification of a sinking tug with four people aboard at about 2:15 pm local time.
Watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast (UMIB) and launched a rescue boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Fire Island.
Station Fire Island crewmembers arrived on scene at approximately 2:45 pm, discovered a debris field, located three men huddled together in immersion suits, and plucked them from the near-freezing water.
A fourth man, reportedly the captain of the tug, was later found unresponsive by a good Samaritan, according to the USCG.
All four crewmen were transported to an awaiting emergency crew on shore. The three survivors were diagnosed with hypothermia and the fourth man was later pronounced deceased.
”Our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of the deceased,” said Capt. Edward Cubanski, commander Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound.
He said the three survivors did exactly the right thing, donning their survival suits and staying together until rescue crews located them. Incidents like these, Cubanski said – with 40 degree-water and rapidly deteriorating situations – highlight the importance of reliable communications, survival gear, and the knowledge of how to use it.