2 teens grateful to be alive after getting stranded in Long Island Sound without life jackets

Stacey Sager Image
Friday, July 7, 2023
2 teen swimmers grateful to be alive after getting stranded in water
The teenagers found themselves stuck in the waters of the Long Island Sound without life vests or floatation devices while their disabled boat drifted away. Stacey Sager has more.

CUTCHOGUE, Suffolk County (WABC) -- A group of teens say they are lucky to be alive after a frightening experience when they became stranded in the Long Island Sound on Thursday.

Two of them drifted for miles in the water with no life jackets and apart from each other while the boat they were in was stranded.

"They were scared for a whole number of reasons, I think there's a whole new appreciation for the Long Island Sound here, it could be challenging," said Cutchogue Fire Department Lt. Bryan Zissel.

The distress call came from 18-year-old Ben Grodski, who was operating a 23-foot Grady white boat.

He said they were about to head in when two of them - a 16-year-old boy and girl - took one last dip without life jackets but while holding onto a rope.

"The rope came untied that we were grabbing ourselves on to get back into the boat and the anchor got caught in the prop, leaving me stranded as people were floating out to sea," Grodski said. "So it definitely wasn't too good."

That's when a group of first responders from the Cutchogue Fire Department sprang into action.

They were at the closest launch point with a small inflatable, a Zodiac, at the end of Duck Pond Road, but they say the scope of the search pattern was enormous.

In fact, they say the teens had drifted apart from each other and they were already four miles from the shore.

But then suddenly rescuers said they got lucky and happened to see an arm waving in the air.

"I actually dove off our Zodiac, and rescued the first swimmer with a buoy and held him while the boat went 100-200 yards away and rescued the second individual in the water," Zissel said.

Rescuers found out the 16-year-old girl was tangled up in waterskiing rope.

The teens were shaken, but grateful to be alive and everybody is expected to be OK.

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