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Story - News

Aug 25, 2012 11:51 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

UPDATE: Charges After Partiers Are Rescued From Sandbar

Aug 26, 2012 8:36 PM

UPDATE 10:20 a.m. Sunday

Three young men­, including one who later tried to flee the scene after Southampton Town Police attempted to arrest him, were located and saved in a massive water rescue effort involving 37 other people on Saturday night in Hampton Bays.

Police said they originally responded to calls of two men in “distress” in the Shinnecock Inlet, and later determined that they belonged to a group of 40 people who were stranded on a sandbar in Shinnecock Bay after a barbecue had taken place there earlier. A third man was later found to be swimming in the channel, and was quickly rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Everyone involved was transported from the sandbar to Oakland’s Marine Basin, according to police.

Police and fire departments originally received calls at around 8:20 p.m., reporting a possible overturned vessel, because of the number of people in the water. Thomas Besch, 23, of Hampton Bays was being pulled out of the inlet by “concerned citizens” when police responded to the scene, and the U.S. Coast Guard located and rescued Michael Emmerich, 23, of Medford, who was found 200 yards south of the inlet after a strong current pushed him out into the Atlantic Ocean. The Coast Guard also pulled Joseph Scotti, 20, of Hampton Bays out of the channel.

Mr. Besch, who police said appeared to be under the influence of alcohol, was arrested and charged with violating town code, which bans swimming in a channel or inlet. “He was additionally charged with obstructing governmental administration in the second degree, as he fled the scene despite being told he was under arrest for the town code violation,” police said. “He was located by officers at the Ponquogue Bridge and was transported to Southampton Town Police headquarters, where he was processed and held for arraignment.”

Mr. Scotti and Mr. Emmerich are expected to face charges for violating town code by swimming in a prohibited area.

Responders at the scene included the U.S. Coast Guard; Southampton Town Police, and the police’s Community Response Division, Patrol Division, and Detective Division; Suffolk County Police Aviation; Southampton Town Bay Constables; Quogue Village Police Marine Unit; Suffolk County Parks Police; fire departments from Hampton Bays, North Sea and Southampton; and the Hampton Bays Volunteer Ambulance.

Police said the investigation is still ongoing.

ORIGINAL STORY:

About 30 people who gathered to party on a sandbar in Shinnecock Bay near Oakland’s Restaurant and Marina in Hampton Bays on Saturday night were stranded and had to be rescued, according to Southampton Town Police.

Emergency responders rescued two who were swept into the ocean, police said.

“Some attempted to swim to shore but were swept through the [inlet] into [the] ocean by strong outgoing currents,” according to Southampton Town Police Chief William Wilson Jr. “All have been rescued and we believe everyone is accounted for. No injuries reported.”

Crews from various fire departments—including Hampton Bays, Sag Harbor and Southampton—assisted at the scene, and the Coast Guard also helped rescue at least one of the people.

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I always thought it was called the "inlet" the canal is by the locks going into Peconic Bay. Glad no one was injured...pretty stupid thing to do if they were people who aren't familiar with the currents and the waters out here!
By ShelleyB (28), East Hampton on Aug 26, 12 12:18 AM
Yes, chief misspoke--story is corrected now. Sorry.

Update coming shortly.
By Joseph Shaw, Executive Editor (201), Hampton Bays on Aug 26, 12 9:06 AM
It's Shinnecock Inlet that connects the ocean and the bay. Not the canal. Southampton Town Bay Constables were the primary emergency responders in the search and rescue.
By Jaws (239), Westhampton Beach on Aug 26, 12 1:04 AM
Why wasn't this mob scene on the sand bar stopped before it became unmanageable and dangerous? I don't get it. It is right across from the Coast Guard station.
By joan s (53), hampton bays on Aug 26, 12 10:53 AM
so your saying that every gathering should be stoped before it becomes unmanageable. it was a bunch of kids haveing fun
By Born Here (26), HB on Aug 28, 12 8:33 AM
I wonder if alcohol was involved. Duh !!!
By PrivateerMatt (390), Weesuck Creek , EQ on Aug 26, 12 2:20 AM
It's not always alcohol, stupidity is rampant these days!
By kpjc (159), east quogue on Aug 26, 12 6:36 AM

Touche my friend...Common sense is a very uncommon virtue these days.
By PrivateerMatt (390), Weesuck Creek , EQ on Aug 26, 12 9:58 PM
2 members liked this comment
The Sag Harbor paper is saying 40 people were involved.

The participants are hereby nominated for The Darwin Awards. (If you haven't seen these books, you won't believe the ........ things people do!) You can't make this stuff up.

Add up the time for all the emergency responders, including all headquarters staff, dispatchers, and so forth, and .......

Bill them!

PS -- If a commercial establishment/business was involved in this SNAFU, they should share the costs ...more
By PBR (4895), Southampton on Aug 26, 12 7:18 AM
2 members liked this comment
"The Darwin Awards salute the improvement of
the human genome by honoring those who
accidentally remove themselves from it... "

[link below, in case it is against the rules here]
By PBR (4895), Southampton on Aug 26, 12 7:23 AM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By PBR (4895), Southampton on Aug 26, 12 7:24 AM
Sorry just one more PS from the link above under 2005.

"Here's your sign!"
__________________________________________
"Tide Waits for No Man"

"(23 May 2005, Texas) After surf-fishing on Crystal Beach, John was fatigued, but unwilling to call it a night. The full moon threatened to disturb his nap, so John curled up for forty winks in the darkest place available: underneath his truck, which was parked on the beach.

The next morning, a pickup truck was reported ...more
By PBR (4895), Southampton on Aug 26, 12 7:32 AM
This is close to Jimmy Malone's & the Warners houses. Will little Jim be looking to shut down that sand bar for being over capacity?
By G (324), Southampton on Aug 26, 12 8:23 AM
G, you are my hero!!!!!!!!!!! This is awesome :)
By Terbear (77), Southampton on Aug 27, 12 1:20 PM
Don't know about that, but you can bet some idiot will ask the town board to prohibit this kind of debauchery in the future.
By Phadreus1340 (144), Southampton on Aug 26, 12 10:22 AM
This story was just updated.

The USCG found Mr. Emmerich 220 yards south of the Inlet, as he was being swept out by a strong ebb current, in the DARK one assumes.

He is one lucky man, as are all the other 39 +/-.

Kudos to all the emergency responders, and the Good Samaritans on shore, who kept this from becoming an actual mass Darwin Award.

With no loss of life, this event is only an almost-DA."

Bill them for all costs! This was one expensive rescue operation.
By PBR (4895), Southampton on Aug 26, 12 10:53 AM
3 members liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By lazymedic (100), southampton on Aug 26, 12 11:03 AM
2 members liked this comment
Thank you to all those involved in keeping our residents and visitors SAFE!
I hope individuals understand that many of our EMT, Police, Fire Depts. carry
a heavy burden during the summer months safeguarding our community!
By East Ender (64), Southampton on Aug 26, 12 11:38 AM
Another online East End "publication" (using that term lightly) reports that at one time there were 65 party celebrants, and that about 1/2 got rides back to shore on the available boats, which did NOT return for the other 40 or so who were marooned on the sand BAR.

One wonders, today, what is going through the minds of those abandoned, with reference to the boaters who left them stranded to swim home!

Welcome to "The Strand(ed) Bar" I guess, or maybe the "Dew Drop Inn?"
By PBR (4895), Southampton on Aug 26, 12 11:39 AM
Kudos to all who took part in the rescue but was it really necessary to arrest those who were trying to save themselves for illegal swimming? Jeez.
By highhatsize (3886), East Quogue on Aug 26, 12 12:11 PM
3 members liked this comment
I agree . Lucky to be alive ... but arrested ?
By AndersEn (158), Southampton on Aug 26, 12 1:48 PM
2 members liked this comment
I'm sure alcohol and their behavior were a direct relation the decision to charge them with anything.
By HBGuy (14), Hampton Bays on Aug 26, 12 7:21 PM
how else can you punish the kids? what else were they legally doing wrong? they have to be punished in some way...
By Sour09 (18), Hampton Bays on Aug 28, 12 11:49 AM
Happy day for me my 2 kids made it off the island. The people who took all of them over there went to Neptunes and never came back. I like to get my hands on them
By jjinhb (16), Hampton Bays on Aug 26, 12 12:16 PM
2 members liked this comment
your kids are idiots
By PJC (5), Westhampton on Aug 26, 12 2:08 PM
3 members liked this comment
So sorry, jjinhb for the trauma you went through with your children being left on the island, if I have understood you correctly. Were they young, and had you counted on other adults/parents to watch over them for the evening, or something like that?

HHS and AndersEn, there may be more going on here than meets the eye? The charges made already may be only the beginning. If minor children were left on the island by adults who went out and were BWI, additional charges may be forthcoming IMO. ...more
By PBR (4895), Southampton on Aug 26, 12 2:35 PM
1 member liked this comment
Thanks my kids are in the young 20's. Freinds of friends took them over there. One boater did warn them that he was leaving early that day but the other two is still a ?
By jjinhb (16), Hampton Bays on Aug 29, 12 12:20 PM
What neither story is reporting is that there was a boat which was supposed to be removing the people from the island but it got stuck on a sandbar. The boat was right there in the midst of it and he called for help.
By bb (852), Hampton Bays on Aug 26, 12 3:11 PM
FYI Jaws....Bay Constables were "Not" first one scene, USCG were the ones. At time of search SHT Police first thought a fishing vessel picked up swimmer (#2) and transported him to shore, but it was USCG. Bay Constables are not driving around at night, From my point of view there's a large gap in communication, doesn't anyone know federal agencies have their own frequencies, ie USCG in this case that don't communicate with other FD's, Police , EMS during rescues or searches. All has to be done ...more
By The Squirl (36), Red creek on Aug 26, 12 3:54 PM
1 member liked this comment
you have no idea what you are talking about. You are obviously not a boater or u would know what a VHF radio is. they are in boats and cars and allow comms between any agency, and VHF channels ARE the Coast Guards freqs. Also police radios have multiple freqs so all dept can communicate directly with each other, in addition to fire comps and ambulances. Maybe you should go back to the sandbar and reinsert your head into the sand.
By CaptainSig (700), Dutch Harbor on Aug 27, 12 7:00 AM
1 member liked this comment
Squirl, could you add some detail about how the various responders were unable to communicate with each other per NIMS? [link in next comment, in case the editors here want to delete this one also]

All vessels on the water can communicate with each other (and with USCG Station Shinnecock) on Ch. 16, or on another channel as agreed upon, right?

Do the following resources have Ch. 16 capability?

-- SHT Bay Constables (land vehicles)
-- SHT PD HQ
-- fire departments, ...more
By PBR (4895), Southampton on Aug 26, 12 4:24 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By PBR (4895), Southampton on Aug 26, 12 4:25 PM
Just another out of control "bar."
By we could run this town! (129), the oceanfront trailer park on Aug 26, 12 5:50 PM
... S.W.I.
By William Rodney (525), southampton on Aug 26, 12 6:06 PM
1 member liked this comment
Yes, all responding fd units can communicate to coast guard by the normal channels and or any other agreed upon channel.
By Common Scense (23), Southampton on Aug 26, 12 6:28 PM
1 member liked this comment
Stranded on the island and trying to swim off gets yourself a ticket? Im sure they weren't trying to swim in the inlet and it was more like the tide took them in the channel. The cops really are pushing the issue here, because if being sucked into the inlet doesn't teach them a ticket certainly won't
By chief1 (2605), southampton on Aug 26, 12 7:27 PM
If the tide was coming in ( water flooding the sandbar ) How did the man end up 200 yds south of the inlet ??
By Bill in Riverhead (190), Riverhead on Aug 27, 12 8:50 AM
2 members liked this comment
That's a really good point. . .
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 27, 12 9:08 AM
“Some attempted to swim to shore but were swept through the [inlet] into [the] ocean by strong outgoing currents,” according to Southampton Town Police Chief William Wilson Jr. Low tide was 11:35pm. So the tide was ripping through there at that time heading out to sea.
By pcone (28), hampton bays on Aug 27, 12 11:31 AM
OK, then the people on the sandbar were not in any immediate danger iif the tide was going out, maybe the power of beer affected their instincts of survival ?
By Bill in Riverhead (190), Riverhead on Aug 27, 12 11:51 AM
1 member liked this comment
Sunset was around 7:30 -- maybe they got cold and tired of waiting for their ride to shore, where they might have left warm clothing in cars etc.?
By PBR (4895), Southampton on Aug 27, 12 12:20 PM
1 member liked this comment
Since when is a Town Code violation (swimming in the channel/inlet) an arrestable offense? Seems like it would warrant a ticket with a required court appearance.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 27, 12 9:09 AM
1 member liked this comment
Just another episode of a sense of entitlement compounded by alcohol eliminating common sense. What about all the volunteers that spend all their time on this? Didn't anyone notice this taking place prior to it becoming an emergency? Labor Day can't arrive quick enough for those of us that use utilize our intelligence!
By SPM (3), Southampton on Aug 27, 12 2:49 PM
Bill them!

Let's see, about 65 at the party, according to some sources . . .

Total cost of all labor and equipment resources on land, sea, air and all HQ's, including double-time overtime (or triple?) for Saturday night emergency duty without notice, plus follow-up investigation and remediation over the next week or two . . . . .

Would $130,000 even begin to cover this? This was like staging a movie scene in The Hamptons on an August weekend. You could probably get up ...more
By PBR (4895), Southampton on Aug 27, 12 3:06 PM
A bad situation that ended up with nobody killed... lucky. OK, but let's get a grip on the tickets for the swimmers...and one arrest? I guess someone decided someone needed to be punished? Or, are these people to be singled out and made an example of? For swimming to shore? Ask almost anyone who grew up here, how many guys jumped off the canal bridge? How many guys used to surf in the inlet back in the 70s? These days if the surf is too big, the cops wont even let you near the beach. Can ...more
By Born Here (26), HB on Aug 27, 12 9:09 PM
2 members liked this comment
one more example of the cops and other officials makeing a big deal. Its a bunch of local kids enjoying the last days of summer. Accidents happen. No matter how controled something is. Also if your serious about the fines and 2000 a person fee, your nuts If you think thats a good idea your one of the many people destroying what this town is. Too much government control.
By Born Here (26), HB on Aug 28, 12 8:42 AM
2 members liked this comment
It was not just a bunch of local kids but a large group of partiers who did not have a clue about our local waters.
By joan s (53), hampton bays on Aug 29, 12 7:26 AM
They don't say "young and foolish" for nothing. Most of us were there once. Thank God they are safe. Lesson learned, I hope!
By baywoman (162), southampton on Aug 28, 12 11:39 PM
1 member liked this comment
It's ok in HB to urinate, vomit, fight and litter next to the B Barn. But no swimming in the Canal. HB really needs to take a hard look in the mirror and at it's priorities. I jumped off the bridge in HB as a teen, same in Sag Harbor. Also jumped off Long Wharf more than a few times. Never trashed a community though or took part in that disaster called the Barn...... Unrelated, why are so many buildings in HB falling apart or seriously damaged? From one end to the other the main drag looks like ...more
By G (324), Southampton on Aug 29, 12 6:58 AM
1 member liked this comment
because HB is a dumping ground for what the towns farther east don't want in their villages. Its gross but true.
By squeaky (289), hampton bays on Aug 29, 12 11:42 AM
"Young and foolish" is not a license for 65 people +/- to host a party which was so poorly planned, and which required a MASSIVE and expensive rescue effort. Except for the coincidence of the Coast Guard vessel already being in or close to the Inlet (at night, apparently), Mr. Emmerich would likely not have lived through the night. The same may be true for Mr. Scotti.

PROVIDENCE shined on those who were rescued IMO.

The other childhood pranks described in comments above pale in ...more
By PBR (4895), Southampton on Aug 29, 12 1:24 PM
where are the idots that left them there
By my 2 cents (4), southampton on Aug 29, 12 2:09 PM
2 members liked this comment