Long Island man thanks rescuers who plucked him out of Fire Island Inlet

YAPHANK, Long Island (WABC) -- A Long Island man who was rescued from rough waters off Fire Island last year met with and thanked his rescuers Monday.

Greg Antolini was returning from a fishing trip when his boat overturned in 10-foot breaking waves on November 13, throwing him overboard in the Fire Island Inlet.

"I had enough time to actually dive into the water because I knew it was coming," he said. "There was no way to stop it. The boat spun and flipped...My first reaction when I went into the water was, 'Oh my God, I'm going to drown in the Fire Island Inlet."

He may not have been discovered for hours, but Marine Bureau Officer Erik Johnson was patrolling the oceanfront and observed the hull of the boat in the inlet. He quickly notified dispatch.

"When I was looking out, I actually saw what I thought was a whale," Johnson said. "I just saw this black silhouette out in the water. I said, 'What is that?'"

Aviation Officers John Carey and Sal Garcia were dispatched and located the overturned boat and Antolini, who was clinging to a life jacket in the 50-degree water.

"From that point, we just expand the circle out further and further and happened to see Greg floating in the water," Carey said. "Luckily holding an orange life preserver."

The police helicopter hovered near the victim, and Aviation officers guided Lieutenant Edward Mulroy and Sergeant John Vahey, aboard Marine Charlie, to Antolini.

"We pulled up on Greg, as you see in the video, and we had him in the boat within 30 seconds of pulling next to him," Vahey said.

The entire rescue was caught on camera.

Antolini, who was treated for hypothermia, had reached out to the department asking to thank those involved in his rescue.

"They went over and above, and my four kids get to see me every day because of it," he said. "I just can't them enough."

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