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Story - News

Jan 3, 2012 2:50 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Car Plunges Into Shinnecock Canal, Man Dies

Jan 4, 2012 10:42 AM

Rescue divers on Tuesday afternoon pulled the body of an elderly motorist from his submerged car in the Shinnecock Canal, where he spent approximately 45 to 50 minutes underwater, with water temperatures said to be in the 40s.

Authorities said Simon R. Flaherty, 80, of Hampton Bays was pronounced dead at Southampton Hospital at 4:06 p.m., about 100 minutes after he apparently lost control of his white 2001 Lincoln sedan, which then plunged into the canal near Meschutt Beach County Park. Police said he was the sole occupant of the car.

Town Police Sergeant Lisa Costa said on Wednesday morning that police would have no further information about what caused the accident until the Suffolk County medical examiner’s office in Hauppauge completes an autopsy. Mr. Flaherty’s body was sent there yesterday. Sgt. Costa said the autopsy should be completed within the next week.

According to a rescue worker at the scene, the Lincoln crossed a parking lot, knocked over a wooden bench and drove directly into the canal.

Police said members of the Hampton Bays Fire Department’s dive team pulled Mr. Flaherty from the wreckage, and members of the hamlet’s ambulance company attempted to resuscitate him as they transported him to Southampton Hospital. Resuscitation efforts continued at the hospital until he was pronounced dead. Sgt. Costa said she was not sure how deep the water was where the car was located.

The Southampton Town Police dive team, which received assistance from Rapid Recovery Towing’s heavy tow truck, removed the sedan from the canal, and police impounded the vehicle as part of their ongoing investigation. Sgt. Costa said on Wednesday the safety check should be completed in a day or two.

In addition to Town Police, Town Bay Constables and Suffolk County Park Police, rescue teams responded from as far as Mastic and Mattituck. The U.S. Coast Guard and firefighters from Hampton Bays, North Sea, Sag Harbor, Southampton, Eastport and Medford also responded. Suffolk County Police helicopters were also circling the area helping rescuers to locate the car.

A phone number for Mr. Flaherty was not in service on Wednesday. Police said his family, who has been notified of his death, does not live locally.

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Kudos to those rescue workers! Nice work!
By progressnow (556), sag harbor on Jan 3, 12 4:11 PM
4 members liked this comment
How frightening for this poor man. I hope he makes a speedy recovery and am so thankful for the rescue workers and a job well done.
By Mrs.Sea (268), Sag Harbor on Jan 3, 12 4:14 PM
1 member liked this comment
he died
By concerned east ender (49), Sag Harbor on Jan 6, 12 3:21 PM
incredible response time by our PD and FD (as usual) not to mention assistance through other agencies
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Jan 3, 12 4:20 PM
2 members liked this comment
I love the writers of this newspaper.

"They pulled a man his submerged car "...... then it goes on to say "Officials are still searching for the car" WHAT? Am I missing something? If they pulled him from the submerged car, wasn't the car there and then they lost the car because they were now searching for it?

In the end, I hope the man is alright!
By BIGjimbo12 (201), East Quogue on Jan 3, 12 5:05 PM
Ya, too bad the diver didn't stay by the car instead of taking the guy to the surface so it would be easy to find....I love the readers of this newspaper....they're never discouraged from blurting out whatever nonsense they want by thought or logic.....The guy's dead....I don't know why the paper doesn't say that....they probably can't get it confirmed by the police....he wasn't pulled out for 20 minutes after the car went into the water....but he was probably was dead before he hit the water....heart ...more
By em (51), east hampton on Jan 3, 12 7:19 PM
Also, his soul.
By housedoc1 (12), Southampton on Jan 3, 12 8:12 PM
1 member liked this comment
LoL!! Oops. Yeah, that in particular...I'm sure his shoes are fine...
By em (51), east hampton on Jan 4, 12 5:57 AM
2 members liked this comment
sure hope this man recovers from this frightening accident... and what is equally frightening is the lack of ladders or steps or any throw-able life ring that could be used to get out of the canal in case of any accidental fall ...
By boaterb (1), hampton bays on Jan 3, 12 5:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
So where's big hat or big head or whatever his or her name is now??? Here are you productivity... U Tax PD dollars at work!!!
If it was your frigid frightened breath holding butt in that car... Might you make a generous PBA donation?
Google for the address you probably will be seeking.



By kahuna (69), Tampa on Jan 3, 12 6:16 PM
we should be so proud of all of our volunteers!!!! Well done and prayers to this poor man fast recovery....
By phantom (5), easthampton on Jan 3, 12 7:25 PM
1 member liked this comment
I think that the press left out sag harbor fire department who also responded. Good job by all.
By taxpayer1 (72), Southampton on Jan 3, 12 8:13 PM
2 members liked this comment
the man passed away... 80 years old... simon flaherty.... pronounced at 4:06pm at southampton hospital... hope he rests in peace
By honeylamb (71), East Quogue on Jan 3, 12 8:18 PM
Sure hope his family was notified before you go giving out his name and time of death Honeylamb.. Jeez.
By Uncle Fester (61), Southampton on Jan 3, 12 8:29 PM
it was already on another site Fester... don't get your undies in a knot...
By honeylamb (71), East Quogue on Jan 3, 12 9:06 PM
1 member liked this comment
Easy does it Fester. The name and age were reported on Newsday.com
By itsamazing (223), Southampton on Jan 3, 12 8:36 PM
1 member liked this comment
Name was also reported on the Patch. It's such a sad story.

Let's remember that all the volunteers do their best to recover and save people's lives. And reporters are human in writing their stories and getting them out for us to see/read. We all make mistakes. Let's be a bit more forgiving and thankful for what these people are doing.

THANK YOU to all the volunteers who worked on the rescue, to the paid forces for their hard work...and to the family of the victim, my sincere ...more
By hamptonbaysnative (3), hampton bays on Jan 3, 12 8:52 PM
4 members liked this comment
What an amazing job done by law and fire services! From what I heard the Hampton Bays Fire Department was in the middle of a funeral for their chaplain when the accident happened. Major accidents, loss of member and a dive rescue all in the past few days. Great job to all rescuers and our Hampton Bays Firemen
By HBLocal (8), Hampton Bays on Jan 4, 12 8:43 AM
2 members liked this comment
8 to 10 knot current running in the canal could easliy sweep the car away...And with that said, The VOLUNTEERS that jump in that water are truly heroes......
By Dunker137 (12), Southampton on Jan 4, 12 1:30 PM
3 members liked this comment
I'm pretty sure it was an incoming tide in Shinnecock Bay when this accident occured and in that case the locks would be closed and no 8 to 10 knot current would be present.
By PrivateerMatt (390), Weesuck Creek , EQ on Jan 5, 12 1:50 PM
What a tragic event, this should have never happened. Maybe its time for guard railing to prevent this from happening again. Great to see all the dedicated concern and compassion these volunteers had responding to this scene.
Thanks to the many different Fire Companies and our SH Police for an admiral job. They all worked in coordinated effort to "help" rescue someone. Too bad I couldn't say the same for last weeks Head-On Motor Vehicle Accident in HB. A neighboring Ambulance Corp member was ...more
By The Squirl (36), Red creek on Jan 4, 12 3:31 PM
1 member liked this comment
Barn door philosophy.
Let's spend money to prevent something that happens once in a blue moon. You ante up first.
By Hambone (513), New York on Jan 9, 12 10:49 PM
by any chance The Squirl were you referring to Flanders? We all know there out of control. Like the other night jumping the call on Sunrise Hwy in East Quogue district and dispatched themselves nothing like going out of your district and having one of their own members getting into an accident
By chief emt (2), riverhead on Jan 4, 12 4:27 PM
Wow.. I little inter-agency bickering....never heard of such a thing...
By DJ9222 (85), southampton on Jan 4, 12 6:01 PM
2 members liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By citizenpatriot (1), southampton on Jan 6, 12 1:42 PM
Wow my comment was removed, don't see how it was off topic or contained inappropriate content - apolgies - was in response to the 2 posts above.
By citizenpatriot (1), southampton on Jan 6, 12 2:18 PM
ya that neighboring corp member was ron hintze, fnva finest.
By SHTownHB (75), Hampton Bays on Jan 6, 12 5:54 PM
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