Authorities say fire department rescuers plucked five boaters from rough waters off New Jersey after their boat capsized.
Crews with the New York City fire department and the Middletown fire department were dispatched to the scene not far from the Keansburg fishing pier at about 8:30 p.m. Friday.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Steve Strohmaier says Middletown firefighters rescued two boaters and the FDNY got three people out of the Raritan Bay off Monmouth County.
FDNY Lieutenant Philip Miller says his “Summer Boat Program” crew was monitoring the marine radio frequency when the U.S. Coast Guard transmitted an urgent message about the capsized boat.
The crew, consisting of Miller and Craig Arancio, Harry Callahan, and James Maniscalco, responded immediately. The program operates for six months a year, responding to all types of emergencies on the water.
“There were waves crashing over our bow making navigation very difficult for us,” said Miller. “It was completely dark, rough water, and they were holding on for dear life. Hypothermia was setting in. It was rough out there.”
But all five people were safely rescued.
“All our training kicked in right away. If we weren’t there, it would have been a very different situation. We got there just in time,” he said.
The victims were “very gracious,” the official said, adding that they were happy to see the rescuers and thanked them “the whole way back.”
Miller says it’s a reminder to always have life jackets, radios, and cell phones while out on the water.
Officials didn’t immediately have information about what caused the boat to capsize or the condition of those rescued.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.