MONTAUK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The U.S. Coast Guard rescued a missing fisherman Wednesday afternoon, about 43 miles off the coast of Long Island.
John Aldridge, 45, who worked on the crew of the commercial vessel Anna Mary, had been missing after going overboard Wednesday offshore from Montauk. He spent hours treading in shark-infested waters without a lifejacket — and at one point, he said sharks were circling him, reported CBS 2’s Alice Gainer.
A search began right away – with rescue boat crews from Coast Guard Station Montauk, two 87-foot rescue patrol boats, two rescue helicopters and aircraft, as well as local fishing vessels and Good Samaritans. The search went on for more than eight hours, the Coast Guard said.
Altogether, the search crews covered 660 square miles – about the equivalent of 378,000 football fields, the Coast Guard said.
Finally, a Jayhawk helicopter rescue crew based in Cape Cod, Mass., found Aldridge. A rescue swimmer dropped down from a cable on the chopper, and retrieved the exhausted fisherman.
Coast Guard photos showed Aldridge on a stretcher – seemingly smiling – in an Anna Mary T-shirt. Another photo showed the rubber boots that he put under his arms at one point to stay afloat.
He was taken to Falmouth Hospital, and was being treated Wednesday night for dehydration, exposure and hypothermia.
“The search and rescue coordination between the Coast Guard, its partner agencies and fishermen was exceptional. The fishing crews allowed us to search a much greater area,” Station Montauk Senior Chief Petty Officer Jason Walter said in a news release. “To find this man in the water after this much time is amazing.”
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