Suffolk Police and the U.S. Coast Guard came to the rescue of a New Jersey man Monday after he was tossed from a windsurfing board during a string of powerful thunderstorms off Heckscher State Park.
A witness from shore called 911 after noticing the man, later identified as Donald Roth, 56, of Washington Township, get knocked off the board by high winds and waves, Suffolk police said.
This was just after 6 p.m. — the same time wind gusts of 60 miles per hour were being observed at U.S. Coast Guard Station Fire Island.
Suffolk County Police Marine Bureau officers Keith Magliola and Daniel Smith were aboard Marine Kilo when they responded to the area, encountering waves of 4 to 5 feet on the bay.
They began a systematic search for the man.
The Coast Guard dispatched a 29-foot rescue boat from Station Fire Island, which also participated in the search, police said.
After about 20 minutes, Magliola and Smith located Roth in the water off Nicoll Point, clinging to his board. Only his head was out of water and he was not wearing a life jacket, just a helmet and wetsuit, police said.
He was transported to his vehicle and did not require medical attention.
In an announcement about the rescue, police took the opportunity Tuesday to remind anyone heading out on the water to wear a personal flotation device, check forecasts and head for safety well before bad weather arrives.