2006-12-01 / Community

FD Lieutenant Fished Out Of Ocean By PD Copter

By Howard Schwach

Channel Two News had a helicopter over the rescue scene and broadcast it live to New Yorkers.
Channel Two News had a helicopter over the rescue scene and broadcast it live to New Yorkers. A windsurfing off duty FDNY lieutenant who drifted several miles off the Rockaway shore last week after launching his small craft from Breezy Point was pulled from the ocean by a police rescue diver who jumped into the water and placed him in a rescue basket.

Lieutenant Charles Marshall, an eight-year fire department veteran and Brooklyn resident, took his windsurfer from the Breezy Point jetty along with two friends at about 2 p.m. on Friday, November 24.

"Things were going fine until the wind died," Marshall told reporters. "In the beginning it was annoying, but as I got further and further out to sea, it got scary.

Marshall clung to the small surfboard-like boat, which had partially lost its sail.

His friends called 911 and the New York Police Department's Aviation Unit dispatched an air-sea rescue team to look for him.

Marshall saw the helicopter in the distance, but said that it did not see him at first.

"I watched them search for me," he told reporter C. J. Sullivan of the New York Post. "I thought, I'm not going to make it back to the jetty. I may have to swim to Staten Island."

Finally, five miles off the Jetty, police officer Erin Nolan, who was flying Aviation 19, spotted Marshall and his small craft.

"I saw that he was trying to signal us," Nolan told reporters. "He made it easy for us to see him."

Rescue diver George Sichler went into the water to place Marshall in a rescue basket.

"His sail had broken and he was drifting," the diver said. "He was able to hold onto his board, which takes a lot of strength,"

Marshall was taken to Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn and then to Lutheran Medical Center, where he was observed and released.

Marshall's wife, Cindi told reporters, "It was ironic that he had to be rescued from water, not fire. Even on his vacation, he gets in trouble."

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