Montauk drowning appears to be an accident, police say

August 12, 2013 5:32:58 PM PDT
A relaxing evening on the seas turned deadly a few miles off Montauk Point and investigators are still piecing together how it all happened.

The Coast Guard got a distress call late Saturday night into Sunday from 54-year-old John Petrocelli, who said his 40-year-old wife, Ninive, had fallen overboard near Montauk.

"The husband tells us that they were anchored and sitting on the boat and were on the bow, and his wife mentioned that she was chilly and was going to get a sweater," Suffolk County Police Det. Lt. Jack Fitzpatrick said.

But after being gone for 10 minutes, Petrocelli says he went looking for his wife, who was nowhere to be found.

Eleven hours later, boaters discovered Ninive Petrocelli's body floating in the water. She was not wearing a life-vest.

"There's no indication of any criminality in this case," Fitzpatrick said.

Fitzpatrick says the Petrocelli's had a happy marriage and the couple ran two successful businesses - a construction company in New Jersey and a wholesale glass distribution company in Manhattan.

They lived on Central Park West where neighbors said the Petrocelli's were warm and friendly people.

The couple loved the water and was known to take out their 45-foot cabin cruiser called "In The Clutch."

The question is how did the 40-year-old fall overboard while the boat was anchored in calm waters?

Investigators say they're awaiting the results of a toxicology report to see if Petrocelli had anything in her system when she died.