2005-05-20 / Front Page

In Over Their Heads NYPD Rescues Stranded ‘Sailors’

Three ‘sailors’ were rescued by the NYPD Aviation Unit Tuesday evening after an 18-hour misadventure in Jamaica Bay, police said.

The trio’s trouble began Monday night when the outboard engine on their 25-foot sailboat died five hours after they shoved off from the All Seasons Marina at Kings Plaza. Out of gas and in over their heads, the wind blew their craft aground just off the north side of Stony Creek Marsh.

The crew’s first chance for a rescue was dashed because the men had already wasted three distress flares by lighting them for their amusement. Stymied with an inoperable two-way radio and dead cell phones, they spent the rest of the chilly night stuck on the marsh.

The clueless crewmembers had no chart (a map showing navigational markers, water depths, land masses, marshes, etc.) onboard, nor were they capable of using the wind and the boat’s rudder to direct the boat’s course (i.e. sailing).

At about noon on Tuesday, the youngest castaway, Alexy Zharov, 17, of Brooklyn, attempted to swim to Rockaway for help. He wound up, unbeknownst to anyone but himself, stranded on Ruffle Bar.

Somewhere along the way, Roman Gadzhilov, 25, was whacked in his right eye by the boom – a pole at the foot of the main sail that swings free at one end. Published photos showed him wearing an eye patch.

With the sun setting and another cold night without food or fresh water closing in, the men with the sailboat, Gadzhilov of Brooklyn and Alex Glubochansky, 31, of Manhattan, began signaling for help with a mirror and an orange distress flag.

NYPD helicopters, flying over Jamaica Bay on a training mission, spotted the two men and radioed the Harbor Unit, but an outgoing tide prevented a rescue by boat. Minutes later, a chopper landed on Stony Creek Marsh and whisked the men to safety.

It was not until the helicopter reached Floyd Bennett Field, police said, that Gadzhilov and Glubochansky told rescuers about Zharov, who they had not seen for at least six hours. Two NYPD helicopters were immediately dispatched to search for the teen, who was found at about 7:50 p.m.

All three men were transported to Kings County Hospital and were in stable condition, police said.

The tab for towing the boat was reportedly $3,000.

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