OCEAN BAY PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Two Suffolk County police officers and an off-duty lifeguard rescued three men who got caught in a rip current off Fire Island Friday afternoon.
Peter Giorgianni, 62, of Babylon, was swimming in the ocean off Ocean Bay Park, when he was pulled out to sea by the rip current, according to Suffolk County police.
Michael Baruch, 22, of Smithtown, and Kevin Mannix, 49, of Nesconset, tried to reach Giorgianni, but got caught in a rip current themselves, police said.
Responding Officer Charles Giardella of the Suffolk County police Marine Bureau grabbed a life ring and rescue line, and got into the water with the off-duty lifeguard from Point O’ Woods, police said.
A second officer, Michael Malone, stayed onshore to coordinate the rescue, police said.
Giardella and the lifeguard swam about 150 feet past the breakers, and Giardelli passed the life preserver to Giorgianni and pulled him back to shore, police said.
Giardella then swam out again and passed the life saver to Mannix and Baruch, police said.
At the time of the incident, surf height was about 4 feet, police said. Giorgianni said he did not think he would have survived if the officer and lifeguard had not reached him.
Giorgianni was taken by boat to the Marine Bureau Head Quarters in Great River, and from there was taken to North Shore-LIJ Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, police said. Mannix and Baruch refused medical treatment.
The Marine Bureau advises only swimming on beaches with lifeguards, and if you are caught in a rip current, the bureau said you should:
To get out of the rip current, swim parallel to the beach;
Once out of the rip current, swim at an angle away from the rip current and toward shore;
If you cannot escape this way, float or calmly tread water.